The Great Depression was one of the bleakest times in United States history, both economically and socially. Lasting from 1929, it lasted up to the early 1940?s. There were many different factors that led to this dark era in American history. Although mostly related to a great stock market crash in 1929, there were other major changes that helped to fuel this dark period.

One of the contributors to the Great Depression was the stock market crash in October of 1929. In the span of only two months since the initial crash, stock holders lost an estimated 40 billion dollars. Although able to regain some of these losses by the year 1930, it was unable to fully recover for some time, and plunged America deep into the Great Depression.

Another factor that led to the Great Depression was the fact that nearly 9,000 banks failed. Deposits were uninsured, and caused many depositors to lose their savings. This also led to a large majority of lenders to curb their number and amounts of loans, which led to less spending on an all-around scale.

Coupled with the crash of the stock market and fearful economic policies, consumers on all levels stopped purchasing goods. The result of this was that less products were being produced, which led to many people losing their jobs. As job losses mounted, many people were unable to continue to pay for items they had purchased, and many of their stuff was repossessed. The great reduction led to inventories piling up with unsold merchandise, and the unemployment rate rose to over 25%, which created even more chaos and turmoil.

On a political format, the government also had a hand in aiding the coming of the Great Depression. At the start of major business failures, the government passed what was known as the Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1930. This imposed a higher tax on goods imported from other countries, which, in turn, led to a decrease in foreign trade, as well as forms of economic retaliation.