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The 1920s was a period of general prosperity for many Americans but the decade ended with the most serious depression in United States history When Herbert Hoover 31st president took oath into office in March 1929 trade was booming industry was flourishing Unemployment was low wages were up prices were steady and corporations were making big profits and paying fat dividends Before the end of Hoovers first year in office the stock market had collapsed The nation was beginning to slide into the worst depression in history By the time Hoover left office in 1933 many citizens had lost faith in their business leaders Some had begun to question the American economic system and even democracy itself The Roaring Twenties was an era dominated by Republican presidents Warren Harding 1920-1923 Calvin Coolidge 1923-1929 and Herbert Hoover 1929-1933 Under their conservative economic philosophy of laissez-faire leave it alone markets were allowed to operate without government interference Taxes and regulation were slashed dramatically monopolies were allowed to form and inequality of wealth and income reached record levels The country was on the conservatives preferred gold standard and the Federal Reserve was not allowed to significantly change the money supply During October 1929 the stock market had some bad days Then suddenly on October 24 otherwise known as Black Thursday prices began to fall and buyers on margin had to sell their stocks The rush to sell made prices fall even faster In the 1920s after World War I danger signals were apparent that a great Depression was coming A major cause of the Depression was that the pay of workers did not increase at all Because of this they couldnt afford manufactured goods While the factories were still manufacturing goods Americans werent able to afford them and the factories made no money There were serious weaknesses in the economy that had hardly been noticed up to then As we have seen while the output of American workers
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