What has been the impact of the Great Depression?What has been the impact of the Great Depression?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The biggest impact of the Great Depression was the social safety net. FDR developed the New Deal programs of Social Security, unemployment and disability programs. These were designed to keep people on their feet in times of need, and support them after they were too old or sick to work.
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jtutino | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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The social and psychological impact of the Great Depression on those who lived through it should also be noted.  During the Depression, many unemployed Americans suffered from feelings of inadequacy and idleness.  This increased incidences of domestic violence, divorce rate and suicide rate.  Many children and teens took to "riding the rails" because they felt like burdens to their families. The work relief programs of the New Deal helped Americans to feel useful again, which may have had a greater psychological impact than economic impact in reversing the effects of the Great Depression.


The Americans who survived the Depression were thriftier than their ancestors and than their children would be.  They were more likely to work for one employer for their entire career than their children and grandchildren, because they were so grateful to find work that they would do all they could to keep a job.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Great Depression had many sorts of impacts.  I would say that its greatest impact in the United States was to increase the size and scope of government.  I think this has been the most lasting impact.

Before the Depression, the federal government had very little role in the economy and in providing any sort of a "safety net" to people.  This changed dramatically with the New Deal that was used to try to end the Depression.  The New Deal had the national government get involved in the economy in all sorts of ways that it never had before.  This involvement has continued to the present day.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The great depression refers to a worldwide deep and extended economic recession that occurred in 1930's. It started with a crash of stock market and real estate prices in the USA, and spread to many different countries. Many measures were adopted by government of different countries to reverse this recession but with limited success. The depression ended around 1939, perhaps primarily because of increased production in preparation for the Second World War.

Almost every country in the world was affected adversely by the Great Depression. It caused a sharp reduction in world trade as each country tried to help its own industries by restricting imports. The recession also had some political implications as people in some countries blamed their current leaders for the economic dilemma, and consequently supported a change in leadership and form of government, In this way the Great Depression played a definite role in rise of the German dictator Adolf Hitler and to the Japanese invasion of China.

Also the depression had lasting effects on the political ideologies and practices in many countries. For example, governments in many countries took on greater responsibility than ever before for regulating their economies.

The Great depression caused major human suffering, particularly in the USA. Many died from malnutrition, and thousands lost their home. In the worst period of depression, one could see young people wandering through the country seeking food, clothing, shelter, and a job. Many homeless, jobless travellers obtained food from welfare agencies or religious missions They sometimes they ate scraps of food from dustbins.

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