1929 Stock Market Crash
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In the years after the end of World War I, the United States witnessed its longest economic expansion in history. Thus, when the stock market crash in 1929 heralded in the era of the Great Depression, many individuals were shocked by the turn of events. While it is true that the Great Depression was a shock to society when it occurred, the reality is that when one looks at the specific economic and political situation that promulgated the crash, the fact that the Depression occurred is not all that surprising. With the realization that analysis of the political and economic climate in the years after World War I contributed to the stock market crash, this investigation considers three specific circumstances during this time period that served as the impetus for the crash.
Format for Stock Market Crash Research Paper
A research paper for a history topic such as the 1929 Stock Market Crash may look something like this:
- Annotated Bibliography
- Clear Thesis Statement Written in 3rd person
- Clear & Logical progression
- Generalities backed up by specific information such as statistics
- Historical data
- Charts and or Graphs
- Clear conclusion that includes why you think this 1929 Stock Market Crash is important to our history, why we should care and what has been learned.
Some excellent sources on the Stock Market Crash of 1929 are:
- The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith
- The Day America Crashed by Tom Shachtman
- The Great Depression by Thomas E. Hall & J. David Ferguson
- Rainbows End: The Crash of 1929 by Maury Klein
Notations in text should be made only with a superscripted number. This number should follow all punctuation - except for a dash. Do NOT cite sources using embedded notes, that is, don not use parentheses within the text to refer to your sources
Bibliography must be Chicago Style. MLA and APA are not acceptable.
The Stock Market in 1929
Looking first at the stock market itself, it becomes clear that since the end of the War, a stock market bubble had been created. Trusts among organizations were formed created monopolies on price setting. As s result of these practices, prices became inflated along with stocks. By 1929, the market could no longer support this bloated infrastructure, promulgating massive losses of capital. The end result of this process was the enactment of anti-trust legislation, which served as the basis to keep stocks from becoming over-inflated simply because of collusion and price setting. Although this has worked to some degree, it is clear that modern day trusts have evolved. These trusts have not been properly handled under anti-trust legislation.
In addition to the fact that trusts contributed to the economic downfall of the U.S. during this time period, it has also been noted that after the end of World War I, consumerism grew extensively. To meet consumer demand, many organizations upped production. By the time the economy was beginning to falter, most organizations had a surplus of product and had no choice but to cut their bottom line in order to remain profitable. For this reason, in the years leading up to the stock market crash, many organizations found that they had to employ massive layoffs in order to survive the tightening economy. As more individuals became unemployed, the downward spiral of the economy continued.
While the unemployment that occurred during this time period was quite extensive, it exacerbated by the laissez-faire attitude taken by the government. Up until the stock market crash, the government took no real interest in improving the economy of the United States. While this method of non-intervention had worked well up until this point, the reality is that with no unemployment insurance in place, when individuals became unemployed, they had no source of income to help stabilize their families until suitable work could be found. With an unemployment rate of more than 25 percent during this time period, the lack of unemployment insurance had disastrous consequences for millions of individuals and their families.
When put in this perspective, it becomes clear that the precipitation of the stock market crash of 1929 was promulgated by a number of forces, not just one single event. While the consumerism that occurred after the end of World War I was indeed a boon for the United States, the lack of government intervention in the economy and the stock market is what served as the basis for widespread fraud and, eventually, widespread poverty and economic decline. The fact that the government enacted a number of measures to prevent this situation from happening again, is positive proof that these specific contributors to the Great Depression were indeed quite pertinent.
What the Crash of 1929 Meant to America
The stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting Great Depression are best remembered by those who actually suffered through them. These events provided America with valuable lessons, although few who are now in power, either in government or in the business setting, experienced these lessons first hand. As a result, the lessons taught have been largely forgotten, as American consumers are once again suffering from inflated stock prices and the resulting crash that comes when the market evens itself out. To understand why the 1929 stock market crash happened as well as its legal ramifications, this paper reexamines the issue as well as its effects on the American people and the American way of conducting business.
Since the time of the stock market crash, the federal government has taken a more active role in the protection of the economy. Anti-trust legislation, federal insurance on bank deposits, and unemployment insurance are just a few of the measures that were undertaken under the New Deal proposed by Theodore Roosevelt. In many respects, it could be argued that the stock market crash and the Great Depression were pivotal points for the government. These events shift the involvement of the government in economic affairs from one of laissez-faire to active protection of the economy and the American citizens.