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The Great Depression was the worst economic slump ever in US history and one which spread to virtually all of the industrialized world The depression began in late 1929 and lasted for about a decade Many factors played a role in bringing about the depression however the main cause for the Great Depression was the combination of the greatly unequal distribution of wealth throughout the 1920s and the extensive stock market speculation that took place during that same decade The lack of distribution of wealth in the 1920s existed on many levels Money was distributed unequally between the rich and the middle-class between industry and agriculture within the United States and between the US and Europe This imbalance of wealth created an unstable economy The stock market was kept artificially high but eventually led to large market crashes These market crashes combined with the lack of distribution of wealth caused the American economy to capsize The roaring twenties was an era when our country prospered tremendously The nations total realized income rose from 743 billion in 1923 to 89 billion in 1929Sobel 26 However the rewards of the Coolidge Prosperity of the 1920s were not shared evenly among all Americans In 1929 the top 01 of Americans controlled 34 of all savings while 80 of Americans had no savings at all Fremon 16 Automotive industry entrepreneur Henry Ford is one example of the unequal distribution of wealth between the rich and the middle-class Henry Ford reported a personal income of 14 million in the same year that the average persons income was 750 McElvaine 295 This lack of distribution of income between the rich and the middle class grew throughout the 1920s A major reason for this large and growing gap between the rich and the working-class people was the increased manufacturing output throughout the 1920s From 1923-1929 the average output per worker increased 32 Schraff 14 During that same period of time average wages
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