This Day in History
The Great Depression


The Stock Market Crash
October 24, 1929

The stock market crash of October 1929 ushered in the greatest domestic crisis since the attack upon Fort Sumter. It came with an abruptness unprecedented in our economic past; it cut deeper and spread wider than any previous crisis of its kind, and it lasted longer. In the plunge, too, from prosperity to widespread ruin it was more dramatic than anything in our earlier history, and with a kind of poetic justice it came just a year after the newly elected President Hoover had announced that “the choice before the people [was] the American system of rugged individualism or the European philosophy of ‘paternalism and socialism.’”

Within a few months the stock market crash precipitated a crisis in every segment of the American economy. Thousands of businesses were plunged into bankruptcy. Over five thousand banks closed their doors to frantic depositors, unemployment passed the five, then the ten million mark; foreign trade declined from nine to three billion dollars; and farmers faced catastrophe as wheat plunged from almost two dollars to thirty-six cents a bushel while cotton fell to less than five cents a pound. Confronted with all this, President Hoover and the Republican Senate clung stubbornly to “rugged individualism,” while in city after city the workless were forced out of their homes and into makeshift packing-box shelters that quickly got the name of Hoovervilles.





November's Archived Features:

Sunday November 1, 2020
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Tuesday November 3, 2020
Wednesday November 4, 2020
Thursday November 5, 2020
Friday November 6, 2020
Saturday November 7, 2020
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Tuesday November 10, 2020
Wednesday November 11, 2020
Thursday November 12, 2020
Friday November 13, 2020
Saturday November 14, 2020
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Thursday November 19, 2020
Friday November 20, 2020
Saturday November 21, 2020
Sunday November 22, 2020
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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.