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The Great Depression

The Great Depression - What Crashed and Why?

The Great Depression - What Crashed and Why?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.32

     challenging words:    big-ticket, sector, prosperity, falter, tailor-made, installment, economic, unemployed, speculation, bounds, lopsided, booming, inflation, investors, surplus, outlook
     content words:    Great Depression, World War I., During World War, On October, Black Tuesday, United States

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The Great Depression - What Crashed and Why?
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The Great Depression was a very bad time for most Americans. Imagine putting your paycheck in the bank, only to have the bank go out of business the next day! Your paycheck and savings are gone. Then, imagine going to work the next week to find the door locked. Your workplace is out of business! You have no money. You have no job, no way of earning money. How would you pay rent or buy food?
2     This question faced many Americans during the Depression. The period from 1929-1941 was known as the Great Depression, the worst economic disaster in American history. Millions of people were out of work. Homes and farms were lost to foreclosure. People scrounged for any sort of work to feed their families.
3     How could this happen? The causes of the Depression developed over a period of many years, beginning as early as World War I. From 1914-1918, industry had picked up speed to meet the war demand. After the war, the boom had expanded. Factories found cheaper ways of manufacturing their wares. Working people were making higher wages.
4     The 1920s were one long surge of prosperity. The war was over. Life was good. Streams of goods poured out of the factories. Stores and showrooms were bursting with shiny luxuries. A new marketing tool, advertising, made products seem very attractive. People wanted to buy things.
5     It was a time tailor-made for consumer credit. Until now, families had waited and saved for big-ticket items like appliances and cars. But with the installment plan, a person had only to sign papers and make monthly payments. Almost anyone could drive a new car or bring home a gleaming new washing machine.

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The Great Depression

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