Depression years -
The fun-filled, trouble-free days of the 1920’s came to a sudden end. In the 1930’s the United States and the world faced one of the worst times in history.
The depression. Not everyone was getting rich during the Roaring Twenties. Those years were difficult ones for farmers. New farming methods had improved harvest. But the huge harvests meant lower prices because people did not need, and could not use, all the food that was for sale. Many farmers lost money on their crops. In addition, many Americans spent more money than they really had. They had bought many things, including stocks, on the installment plan.
In October 1929 the big trouble began. Stock market prices had been at a record high level. Thousands of stocks were for sale at a high price. Because the prices were so high, there were no buyers for them. So the prices fell. Then people began to worry. Low prices meant trouble for those who had paid high prices for their stocks. They were afraid that they would lose their money. Now everybody wanted to sell before prices went even lower. But there were no buyers.
Tuesday, October 29, 1929, was called Black Tuesday.
Stock prices dropped more and more, and billions of dollars were lost on that one day. Many people had put all their money in stocks, which now nobody wanted to buy. Some people lost all their money in one day. The stock market had crashed.
The stock market crash was terrible for business. People had less money to spend on goods. This meant that businesses were selling less. So there was no demand to make new goods. Therefore, factories were closed down. This meant that people lost their jobs. As unemployment spread, there were even fewer people who could buy goods. So even more factories were closed down, and more workers lost their jobs.
The United States was in a depression — a time when the economy does not grow and many people are out of work. By 1932 one-quarter of all the workers in the country could not find jobs. Many people had to work part-time. Others lined up for free plates of soup or tramped about the country, looking for a job.
The New Deal. In1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President. Roosevelt had promised the American people a “new deal”. Roosevelt said that under the New Deal government would be responsible for helping people during the hard times. Right after he was elected, Roosevelt began working on the problems of the depression.
Roosevelt brought new people into the government: college professors, business people, economists and labour experts — the best minds which he could find. Soon newspapers were calling Roosevelt’s people the Brain Trust.
Roosevelt told his Brain Trust that quick action was needed. If one plan did not work, the government should try something else. The important thing was to try something.
As soon as Roosevelt was inaugurated, the Brain Trust was ready. In the first 100 days of Roosevelt’s term of office, many new laws were passed. The New Deal laws had two goals. The first was to give some relief for the suffering which the depression had brought to the people. The second was to help farmers and businesses.
The New Deal helped people by giving them work. The government organized building new roads, schools, hospitals, bridges, tunnels and dams. Under the New Deal, some young men were sent to camps in rural areas. There they worked at preserving the nation’s land, forests and water. The government paid actors and musicians to put on shows. It paid artists and writers to paint and write. The government also set up a system of payments to help people who were too old to work and people who were out of work.
The New Deal helped business people and farmers. The government asked businesses to set low prices for goods and not to produce more goods than could be sold. The government paid farmers to plant less: as a result of it, food prices could rise. The government also helped farmers to keep their lands by lending them money. In the Tennessee River Valley the government constructed dams, which gave the farmers protection from floods, richer soil for farming and cheap electricity.
The New Deal helped millions of Americans. It gave people hope when they needed it. And it changed the way Americans thought of their government. For the first time, the government took responsibility for helping people in need.
depression - депрессия
to get rich - разбогатеть
to face - находиться лицом к, столкнуться
harvest - сбор урожая
crop - урожай
1. Why were the 1920’s difficult years for farmers?
2. How did trouble begin in October 1929?
3. What happened on “Black Tuesday”, October 29, 1929?
4. What effect did the stock market crash of 1929 have on business?
5. Describe the situation in the country during the depression years.
6. Who was elected President in 1932? What did the new President promise the Americans?
7. What people were called Roosevelt’s Brain Trust? What instructions did the President give his Brain Trust?
8. What were the two goals of the New Deal?
9. How did the programmes of the New Deal help people?