• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss how the Great Depression affected national morale, individual morale, and family life.

Extracts from this document...


1 Claire Peach, Access to Teaching November 11th 2004 Discuss how the Great Depression affected national morale, individual morale, and family life. The Great Depression of the 1930's was an era of hopelessness and fear for many. Coming soon after the prosperous Coolidge era, the Depression affected a nation of people who had based their self esteem around their ability to work and provide well for their families (Clements, page 67 - 69). Individuals and families had to contend not only with an existence that pushed people close to suicide and starvation, but a total loss of self worth and the haunting memories of the cars, radios and relatively luxurious lives they would have led five years previously. As with many disasters, the effect on individuals was varied, although with unemployment at 28% (not including eleven million struggling farm workers (Clements, page 74)), it is doubtful that anyone totally escaped the effects of the Depression. Amongst the worst affected were men who became known as Hoboes- migrants who travelled the USA frantically searching for work. According to a testimony by Louis Banks (Cements, page 74), many men were so in need they regularly risked their lives hitching on trains to try and find employment- if they didn't fall, there was always the chance of being shot by the train police. ...read more.


Families crowded into small homes in stressful circumstances were apt to become irritants to each other, and this could lead to family breakdown. An added stressor was the guilt felt by parents struggling to provide "What about the little children who's (sic) parents can't give the children the little things... who will get the blame... the father of course". (McElvaine, 180). In order to survive, many women returned to work- usually poorly paid jobs designated as "women's work" which were less vulnerable to the economic situation. This affected the morale of the families and husbands. The stresses broke down the marriages which were vulnerable, although as McElvaine (page 181) pointed out, stronger relationships survived "We got enough at (sic) get along on and we got each other. That should be enough at make anybody happy." Children were also family members affected by the Depression. Children are always vulnerable to the strains within a family environment, and are very receptive to signs of problems. Additionally, on a more practical level, many children could not attend school- either because of a lack of basic equipment or the need for them to work- and many lost out on what we would call a childhood. ...read more.


This became a generation used to sacrificing all for their country, and the survival of that country. It is also the case that whilst the adults would have memories of much easier times to motivate them towards reclaiming their future , the children had no such solid reality to aim for- just a vague idea and hearsay that things could be better. In conclusion, I would suggest that the psychological damage and adverse effect on the national morale was felt by all, simply because of the pervading sense of fear. In so called 'natural disasters' national morale tends to improve as people rally round, secure in the knowledge that they are unlikely to suffer the same fate. In the Depression things were very different; nobody knew who would be next to suffer. The majority of those affected must have gone on to suffer effects such as a lack in long term confidence and some level of a mistrust in banks. However, for the worst affected, the most difficult effect on morale must have been the lifelong memory of seeing their children and family suffer, and having no power to change this. For the lack of power to change the future is the exact opposite of the 'American Dream'. 1189 words.not including references. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1919-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE USA 1919-1941 essays

  1. Explain the Causes and Effects of the Great Depression.

    p.26, 1997). As a result, food prices dropped, and farmers began making financial losses. Their reaction was to burrow money from banks, and use it to produce even more food. The solution only worsened the situation as food prices dropped even further.

  2. The effects of Industrialization and globalisation.

    Here the key word is "market". The marketplace and the market ethic have replaced traditional religion and whatever spiritual underpinnings society had. If it sells, it's ethical. If it employs people, it's legal. Greed has taken on the mantle of respectability. Westernization is often defined as the adoption of Western culture.

  1. To what extent was Roosevelt's New Deal the reason why America was able to ...

    Due to this we have to make sure we consider the reliability and consistency of the sources we are studying. Roosevelt built up an incredibly respectable and honest image of himself so most of the sources, which are available to us, are biased towards him.

  2. Did Roosevelt's character, upbringing and background make it easy for him to understand the ...

    * NRA (National Recovery Administration) -Their aim was to increase workers wages so they would have more money to spend on goods. It helped the factory owners to increase the prices on goods and therefore they could make more money and employ more people and to give workers a fairer deal in the workplace, including better working hours and working conditions.

  1. The great depression.

    This had as much to do with the exciting play as anything. Six of the eight National League teams hit over .300. To put that in perspective, not one team in either league has done it since. There was also some great play from individual players that season.

  2. History depth study coursework-USA 1919-1945.

    Capone says that all he does is "supply a public demand". This statement shows that if the people did not want it, then there was not much reason to have it which would also be a cause for the ending of Prohibition.

  1. The experiences of Americans during the Great Depression varied greatly. For most, the Great ...

    When it was only me without my friends, I tired to write and read, I would just take a piece of branch and start writing words on the sand, and reading them. I was proud of my self that I can actually do those things without the teachers around me.

  2. What Impact did the Great Depression have on the lives of American People?

    Thus the aristocracy did have assets in which to fall back on when in debt, and could pay off lost money invested in the stock exchange. However, the upper middle class who in many cases had sizeable investments in firms and had only a little to support them.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work