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The decade leading up to the stock market crash of 1929 and the following Great Depression is typically remembered as one of great prosperity; everybody, it seemed, was getting wealthier. While the rich added to their riches, even the working class was beginning to earn a little bit of money to put away…
When, on that Black Monday, the stock market did actually crash, and when bankruptcies and layoffs followed on its heels, the country was unprepared-due to ideology as well as limited governmental infrastructure-to deal with the economic repercussions.
All signs pointed to a booming American economy in the 1920s. Between the years of 1925 and 1929, the number of factories, shops, and other establishments of production rose from 183,900 to 206,700, better than a ten percent increase; the value of the products coming out of those establishments rose similarly, from $60.8 billion to $68 billion (Galbraith, 2). In addition, the number of new cars rolling off the assembly line rose from 4,301,000 in 1926 to 5,358,000 in 1929 (Galbraith, 2). The power of the American dollar was such that it was in constant circulation; Americans were making money at a faster rate than ever, and they were spending it at a faster rate as well. In addition to the unprecedented growth in the production factor, the question for many middle-class Americans came to be what they should do with their newfound surplus.
The Twenties provided no shortage of opportunities in this regard. ...
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