The Great Depression: Stock Market Crash

Time Frame: 1929-1939

All parts of the nation were faced with the worst economic depression in history in 1929. Iowans suffered along with the rest of the nation.
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By 1929 the word depression could be heard in the cities as well as rural areas. Investors, who had been buying stock on the New York Stock Exchange at a record breaking pace, suddenly changed directions. Frightened by the decline in stock prices, many stockholders began to sell their stock at once. And then October 24, 1929, came to be known ever after as “Black Thursday,” a panic of selling activity caused the New York Stock Exchange to hit rock bottom. The following Tuesday, the worst day in stock market history, more than 16 million shares of stock changed hands and a chain reaction throughout the American economy had begun.


Over the next three years, the country was gripped by the worst economic depression in history. Men who had previously held good paying jobs were reduced to selling apples on street corners. As people cut their spending, wages dropped. Factories slowed production, or closed completely.


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