Social Impact Great Depression Essay

48e. Social and Cultural Effects of the Depression


Sports provided a distraction from the Depression. Shown is a ticker tape parade held in honor of the Detroit Tigers after winning the 1935 World Series.

No nation could emerge from the cauldron of national crisis without profound social and cultural changes. While many undesirable vices associated with hopelessness were on the rise, many family units were also strengthened through the crisis. Mass migrations reshaped the American mosaic. While many businesses perished during the Great Depression, others actually emerged stronger. And new forms of expression flourished in the culture of despair.

The Great Depression brought a rapid rise in the crime rate as many unemployed workers resorted to petty theft to put food on the table. Suicide rates rose, as did reported cases of malnutrition. Prostitution was on the rise as desperate women sought ways to pay the bills. Health care in general was not a priority for many Americans, as visiting the doctor was reserved for only the direst of circumstances. Alcoholism increased with Americans seeking outlets for escape, compounded by the repeal of prohibition in 1933. Cigar smoking became too expensive, so many Americans switched to cheaper cigarettes.

Higher education remained out of reach for most Americans as the nation's universities saw their student bodies shrink during the first half of the decade. High school attendance increased among males, however. Because the prospects of a young male getting a job were so incredibly dim, many decided to stay in school longer. However, public spending on education declined sharply, causing many schools to open understaffed or close due to lack of funds.

Demographic trends also changed sharply. Marriages were delayed as many males waited until they could provide for a family before proposing to a prospective spouse. Divorce rates dropped steadily in the 1930s. Rates of abandonment increased as many husbands chose the "poor man's divorce" option — they just ran away from their marriages. Birth rates fell sharply, especially during the lowest points of the Depression. More and more Americans learned about birth control to avoid the added expenses of unexpected children.

Mass migrations continued throughout the 1930s. Rural New England and upstate New York lost many citizens seeking opportunity elsewhere. The Great Plains lost population to states such as California and Arizona. The Dust Bowl sent thousands of "Okies" and "Arkies" looking to make a better life. Many of the migrants were adolescents seeking opportunity away from a family that had younger mouths to feed. Over 600,000 people were caught hitching rides on trains during the Great Depression. Many times offenders went unpunished.


Films like The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) entertained Americans by the thousands despite the hardships brought by the Great Depression.
Popular culture saw new trends as well. Despite the costs of an evening out, two out of every five Americans saw at least one movie per week.

Classic films like Frankenstein, It Happened One Night, and Gone with the Wind debuted during the Great Depression. Radio flourished as those who owned a radio set before the crash could listen for free. President Roosevelt made wide use of radio technology with his periodic "fireside chats" to keep the public informed. Dorothea Lange depicted the sadness of Depression farm life with her stirring photographs.

And an apt musical form — the blues — gained popularity during the decade.
Great Myths of the Great Depression
This essay claims there are some popular misconceptions about the Great Depression from an economic perspective. Its primary goal is to dispel the "myth" that the Depression occurred when free enterprise collapsed under its own weight. Keep in mind the source here — the Foundaton for Economic Freedom. It's a group with a somewhat dogmatic, though scholarly, approach to economics. Read the piece, explore the resources in the footnotes, and then begin to decide for yourself.

Report broken link

The History of Tramp Art
The phrase "tramp art" may sound like sidewalk paintings and crude sketches. But the drawings, boxes and picture frames produced by "tramps" and "hobos" during the Depression became some of the most sought-after art from this era. This website presents essays on the history of "tramp art" along with several photo examples.

Report broken link

America in the 1930s
This interactive website looks at America during the Depression through the radio, film, books, newspapers and architecture of the era. Heaps of pictures are included, along with helpful timelines for each individual section. Dozens of audio clips are archived here, including installments of Superman, Dick Tracy, and Buck Rogers. Turn on your speakers and enjoy!

Report broken link

Throughout the Depression, hobos took to the American railways and highways, taking with them only what they could carry and leaving behind a cultural legacy that would last for generations. Join Errol Uys, author of Riding the Rails and a guest expert, as he discusses what it was like to hop boxcars during America's darkest economic times.
Learn More...

Report broken link

If you like our content, please share it on social media!

The Social Effects During The Great Depression

The social effects during the great depression.

In the early 1930's there was the great depression. This was caused when the market went into recession and did not recover causing the markets to crash and people lost all of their money. The great depression effected all of the people in many ways, one of the ways was socially. Firstly: The most effected people were the working class. Secondly: The class which was effected a little was the middle class. Finally: The class which was hardly effected was the upper class.

Firstly: The most effected people were the working class. They were effected because they had unstable and low paying jobs so they did not get much money so if problem came along they could not do much. Also many working class people lost their homes and were forced to live on the streets or under bridges and they had no use to get up in the morning because they knew there was no chance of getting a job. Living standards were dropped dramatically because the people had no money to buy new clothes or sheets to sleep on and everything became flea ridden. Also many people had no food, so they had to line up outside the Salvation Army's kitchen to get some warm soup. There were around 30, 000 unemployed people at that time in all of Australia. There were lots of family hardships and people arguing with each other. There was also a big risk of an epidemic breaking out as all of the people were living together in one place. So the working class was effected the most and all...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Mexicans in America During the Great Depression

1713 words - 7 pages While many remember the Great Depression as a time of terrible trials for Americans, few understand the hardships faced by Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the U.S. This paper examines the experiences of Mexicans in America during the Great Depression and explores the devastating impact of repatriation efforts. America has an extensive history of accepting Mexican workers when they are needed for cheap labor, and demanding that they be...

Government Programs During the Great Depression

1175 words - 5 pages With Herbert Hoover in office at the time of the crash of 1929, he believed it was not the government’s responsibility to get involved in helping the millions of Americans affected by this national crisis. However with elections coming up, Americans believed in a time for change. Franklin D. Roosevelt saw a chance to help save the American people and bring this nation of suffering back to a once thriving, prospering nation. With his election...

The Life Of America During The Great Depression

2824 words - 11 pages The Life of America During the Great Depression Black Thursday"”the Stock Market crashed, sending people across the United States into havoc and frenzy. With the unsuspecting jolts of the economical earthquake reverberating, it was necessary to fend for themselves in finding...

Analysis of the Working Class during The Great Depression

1319 words - 5 pages Shealyn Herbert Professor M. Romero U.S History 175 9 April 2014 Exam #2 October 29, 1929, a date that will never be forgotten in the United States for it was the day that the “Great Depression” began, also known as “Black Tuesday—when the American stock market–that had previously been moving swiftly upward for about ten years suddenly crashed, causing the U.S to plummet into the most severe economic downturn known to this date. In 1931, the...

The Plight of Ordinary People during the Great Depression

978 words - 4 pages The Great Depression touched people at every race and income level. It seemed no one was exempt from the emotional and economic toll of the downturn. Lives were turned upside down, and many did not know how to cope. With the financial collapse, kids lost their college funds, and families lost their homes. Families had to resort to making shelter any way they could. Communities were erected in almost every state that consisted of shelters...

A 360 View on Life During the Great Depression

1411 words - 6 pages In 1929 the United States had entered an economic slump known as the Great Depression. The Great Depression was the longest financial decline in American history. The sudden, devastating collapse of US stock market prices on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday, was just the beginning of this economic decline. The Great Depression changed society, socially and economically in many ways, including: family life, crime rates, and businesses....

A Look At Life During the Great Depression

2026 words - 8 pages The United States during the early decades of the 20th Century was a nation at the dawn of a transition politically, economically and socially in the United State. It is during this time that the relationship between employers, employees, and the United States government would change dramatically. The United States by the mid-1930's will see the federal government assume a greater role in the business and personal lives of its citizens. ...

"The Ku Klux Klan" And its role during the aftermath of the Great Depression

993 words - 4 pages "The Original Ku Klux Klan was created in an 1865 meeting in a law office by six Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee"(World Book Encyclopedia). "The name was taken from the Greek work Kuklos meaning (circle) and was originally intended to undermine the Republican government leaders re-constructive efforts in the south in 1867."( Encarta Encyclopedia 2003) This work towards ending discrimination against African Americans , Jews, and...

“Society during The Great Depression with reference to the movie To Kill a Mockingbird

2740 words - 11 pages 8Society during The Great Depression with reference to the movie To Kill a Mockingbird.The Great Depression in America began in 1929 with the stock market crash and the effects were very much prominent during the 1930s. It was a time which affected both the poor and the rich. During the next three years after October 1929, stock prices in the United States continued to fall. This strained banks and other...

Exploring How President Hoover Dealt with the Economic Problems During the Great Depression

1061 words - 4 pages During the Great Depression the task of being president of the United States became even greater, because of the suffering economy. Herbert Hoover was one of the president’s who was faced with this challenge. In fact, he was President during the time of the stock market crash. During his time as president there were many controversies that surrounded him. Many people felt that he wjhnot reaching his full potential as president through some of...

The Woman's Roles during the Depression Era

1262 words - 5 pages The Woman's Roles during the Depression Era The U.S. experienced a Depression in 1929. The American economy collapsed and millions of people were out of jobs. The government's role during this time of economic crisis was to assist the citizens of this country in any way possible. This sometimes led to the development of experimental programs and projects. Greenbelt, Maryland, can be characterized as such. Greenbelt was a planned community...

One thought on “Social Impact Great Depression Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *