What impact did the Wall Street crash have on the American population as a whole?

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billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Wall Street crash had a huge psychological effect on the American population. It destroyed the euphoria that had prevailed during the 1920s. People were afraid to spend money. They were afraid of losing their jobs, losing their homes, losing their life savings through bank failures. Something similar has happened with Americans' psychology since the real estate crash took place around 2008 and the current recession began. The way Americans are feeling today is not too much different from the way people felt during and after the Wall Street crash. Nobody knows what's going to happen. Things may get better. Things may get worse. Who can you believe? A lot of young people went back to school after the crash because they couldn't get jobs and thought they might as well be improving their minds and their potential value as employees. A lot of older people suffered badly because the breadwinner lost his job and they lost their savings in the stock market or in bank failures. Many students today feel apprehensive about their futures. They don't know whether they will be able to get decent jobs when they graduate, which means they don't know whether they can get married, have children, buy homes, save for their old age. This was the same after the Wall Street crash--only more so! Perhaps the biggest impact of the Wall Street crash on the American population as a whole was the creation of uncertainty and dread. It did not really ease until the beginning of World War II.


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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There were two major impacts of the Wall Street crash.  First, the crash led to the impoverishment of many people.  This happened to people who had borrowed money to play the stock market.  It also happened to people whose banks went bankrupt when the crash occurred.  Second, the crash generally hurt all Americans by setting off the Depression.  The crash helped to badly weaken the American economy.  The economy was weakened, for example, as companies lost value when their stock values crashed.  This weakness, of course, affected practically every American to some degree. 

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