Great Depression - Preface

Great Depression (Illustration) Disasters Famous Historical Events Social Studies World History Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Government American History

During the Great-Depression era, many Americans - like other people around the world - did not have enough money to build homes.  In warmer parts of the U.S., people "dug out" the ground, then used logs to put the finishing touches on shelter for their families.  This image, by Russell Lee, depicts a dugout home in Pie Town, New Mexico during October of 1940.  Online, courtesy Library of Congress.


The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
1933 Inaugural Address 

It was a time of utter despair, nearly unimaginable today. The memory of those years still lives in the minds of people who experienced unemployment, insufficient food, homelessness and lost family wealth.

For those born after World War II, it is inconceivable that such a time ever existed in America. In the days before Interstates connected the country, people were forced to travel west in search of a better life.

Destitute mothers had few, if any, options to provide for their children. Out-of-work fathers, throughout the country, had to leave home to find jobs elsewhere. Their "bachelor cabins" were nothing more than shacks.

Photographs from the National Archives paint the picture of harsh times during those not-so-distant days.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

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