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In 1929, the United States started to experience the most following a stock market crash. Americans were challenged daily in various ways as they experienced economic, physiological and social strains. Although this period of time (which is best known as the Great Depression) would last a decade, the American people fought every day to survive the hardships of their reality and improve the nation’s condition as a whole. Readjusting to the demands of this era resulted in extreme adaptations to unconventional gender roles, children employment, poor living conditions, and coming up with ways to fight hunger.
The nation would experience one of the hardest times in its history, however, for each struggle that arose —the nation responded with strength and will to live a better life.
This response would not only come from American citizens alone as the government also played its part in helping the nation improve its condition and secure a future for a better tomorrow. It is without a doubt that the struggles of the Great Depression were numerous and varied in severity.
Americans were starving and they were cold. Groups of people suffered to such an extreme extent that whole towns had not a cent of income. The most targeted group were the coal miners who lost their businesses to competitions that provided new sources of energy. People begged for food and stood in lines with the hopes they would receive a meal for the day.
Little kids found themselves chewing their own hands as a result of starvation and they took turns on when to eat .
People were evicted from their own homes because they could no longer afford to pay for them. This, unfortunately, would result in homelessness for those who had no means to relocate and find another place to live. Teachers were taking extreme pay-cuts and men working in the heavy industry were more likely to lose their jobs than those who were not. Even soldiers that had fought in WWI suffered; they were hungry and so were their families. Women were at a disadvantage because they were more likely to lose their jobs so working men could keep theirs. The Great Depression had no specific target and it impacted all economic groups, races, religions, and cultures.
Unfortunately, extreme health issues such as severe hunger, malnutrition, and even death were the inevitable that resulted with the poor conditions that the American people found themselves living under. Although the extent of these hardships was extreme at most points, the American people developed ways to survive and live the best they could within their measures. People found themselves eating vegetables before they were ripe, dandelions, blackberries, and even their pets to make sure they did not go to bed starving. Restaurants started offering food for a much lower price so people could afford to purchase a meal for the day. People were giving up their furniture to the fire to make sure they made it past the winter. They were spending their savings, cashing out their insurance policies and borrowing money from their family members.
When evicted, they moved in with family and friends. Although women were losing their jobs, they were entering the workforce just as quickly due to the development of new jobs that suited them. The soldiers who found themselves struggling in a country they had fought for would eventually be known as the bonus marchers. They protested and demanded the cash payment they had the right to receive as compensation for their service. Those who lived in a better condition than most were often encouraged to donate to those who were in need . Despite finding themselves in a survival state and struggling to live a normal life, the American people were united in the sense that they all had the same end goal: to survive the Great Depression.
Alongside the nation was the American government. Trying to meet the demands of a nation who had been experiencing its worst economic situation, the government helped in ways they could and ways they believed would help the United States defeat the Great Depression. President Hoover asked the nation to work together and begged for the spirit of giving to remain alive through times of difficulty. He also requested local governments to take responsibility for their community and aide people in extreme need of help. Eleanor Roosevelt made her way out to the poor communities to investigate the poor conditions these people were living under. Additionally, social workers were studying those who were unemployed and how they were finding any means to survive the Great Depression. Although soldiers protested for the money they had to right to receive, the Congress voted for that money to be paid out to them at a later time.
This would not be helpful for those who needed the money immediately, but for those who had the means to wait — it provided them with a sense of relief. Those who were head of households were more likely to keep a government job since they kept the employment opportunities they had available for those who had a family to feed. Although there were much more to be done by the government, they had no option but to take responsibility and start helping a nation that was crying for help. Inevitably, the American people suffered a lot during the Great Depression. Innocent children suffered, families were torn apart and lost their homes, women, and men begged for food and job opportunities. People’s futures were no longer guaranteed as they cashed out insurance policies and spent their savings.
Soldiers did not receive support from a nation which they had once supported. Many more heartbreaking situations were a reality for the people living during that time period. Although the sadness of their reality was without a doubt real, these people had managed to find the strength within themselves in order to better their living conditions. Anything that they saw as an opportunity to keep themselves and their families alive, was also a risk they were willing to take. Although the Great Depression is seen as a time of harshness and loneliness for the American people and its government, it was also a time of unity and desire to work together in order to restore a broken nation that once promised a great future for its people.
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