In the Great Depression people lost their dignity and self esteem. Why do you think this was the case?

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The primary reason for a loss of dignity and self esteem was because people were out of work and could no longer provide for their families. Previously, during the boom years, one who did not provide was considered worthless, or in the lingo of the times "sorry." Suddenly, those without work found themselves in the same situation. They also found themselves forced to stand in bread lines, etc. for a simple meal. It was as if they had become what they had beheld. Unable to fulfil that which they considered their familial duty, they soon developed a feeling of hopelessness. Such a feeling almost always leads to a loss of self esteem. Standing in bread lines--literally waiting for a handout--or similar welfare systems made one feel that he had been reduced to the ranks of a common beggar. Because people found themselves forced to extremes which they had previously sworn to themselves they would never do, they lost all dignity, all self esteem and sadly all hope. The great accomplishment of the New Deal was not that it ended the Great Depression, which it didn't; but that it gave people hope, which in turn restored their self esteem.