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The Long Recovery When he accepted the Democratic Partys nomination for the presidency in 1932 Franklin Roosevelt pledged a new deal for the American people Atack 1994 p 625 When he assumed office the American system of democratic capitalism faced a crisis of monumental proportions Economic distress and social unrest were widespread In 1929 Hoovers first year as president the prosperity of the 1920s capsized Stock prices climbed to unprecedented heights as investors speculated in the stock market The bender in which people bought and sold stocks for higher and higher prices was fueled by easy credit which allowed purchasers to buy stock on margin If the price of the stock increased the purchaser made money if the price fell the purchaser had to find the money elsewhere to pay off the loan More and more investors poured money into stocks Uncontrolled buying and selling fed an upward spiral that ended on October 24 1929 when the stock market collapsed The great crash shattered the economy Fortunes vanished in days Consumers stopped buying businesses retrenched banks cut off credit and a downward twist commenced The Great Depression lasted through the 1930s Since the crash of 29 the value of common stocks had declined from 89 billion to 15 billion Between 1929 and 1932 GNP dropped in constant 1928 dollars from billions 1971 to 143 Real output fell 29 percent Total gross investment fell from 15 percent of GNP to one percent Consumption dropped by more than one third Unemployment increased from 32 percent in 1929 to 2125 percent in 1933Picture 4 About 13 million Americans were officially out of work Farm prices and farm income had appreciably fallen On the eve of the March 1933 inauguration the nations banking system collapsed as millions of panicky depositors tried to withdraw savings that the banks had tied up in long-term loans On that evening Roosevelt declaring in his inaugural told Americans that the only thing we have
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