by Lori Aguiar, D'Evelyn Jr./Sr
Sarah Buch, Chaparral High School
Stephanie Newhouse, University Of Phoenix
Julie Stonis, Chaparral High School

This Webquest will explore the historical and cultural aspects of the Great Depression.

Introduction

The purpose of this WebQuest is for students to understand the single most important economic event that occurred in the 20th century.  Key learning points will highlight the economic and environmental impact, social-emotional status, and outcomes for families across socio-economic backgrounds. Each student will get to choose what interests them and research it more. 

 

In October 1929 the stock market crashed, wiping out 40 percent of the paper values of common stock. Even after the stock market collapse, however, politicians and industry leaders continued to issue optimistic predictions for the nation's economy. But the Depression deepened, confidence evaporated and many lost their life savings. By 1933 the value of stock on the New York Stock Exchange was less than a fifth of what it had been at its peak in 1929. Businesses closed their doors, factories shut down and banks failed. Farm income fell some 50 percent. By 1932 approximately one out of every four Americans was unemployed.

The core of the problem was the immense disparity between the country's productive capacity and the ability of people to consume. Great innovations in productive techniques during and after the war raised the output of industry beyond the purchasing capacity of U.S. farmers and wage earners. The savings of the wealthy and middle class, increasing far beyond the possibilities of sound investment, had been drawn into frantic speculation in stocks or real estate. The stock market collapsed, therefore, had been merely the first of several detonations in which a flimsy structure of speculation had been leveled to the ground.