Great Depression

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Portrait shows Florence Thompson with several of her children in a photograph known as "Migrant Mother", 1936.

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in 1930 and lasted until the late 1930s or middle 1940s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century.

CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links

Quotes[edit]

Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F[edit]

The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy. - Milton Friedman.
  • The singer-songwriter has always played music that was stylistically rooted in the '30s and the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. But the fact of the matter is that none of us remember the Depression firsthand.
  • The average man won't really do a day's work unless he is caught and cannot get out of it. There is plenty of work to do if people would do it.
    • Henry Ford as quoted in The Zanesville Sunday Times-Signal [Zanesville, Ohio] (15 March 1931): On reasons for the Great Depression.

G - L[edit]

  • There was something superficial in attributing anything so awful as the Great Depression to anything so insubstantial as speculation in common stocks.
    • John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went (1975) Chapter XIV, When The Money Stopped, p. 183-184.
  • I outlived the bastards.
    • Herbert Hoover, when asked how he dealt with people who blamed him for the Great Depression, quoted in The Court Years 1939-75 (1980) by William O. Douglas
  • In the large sense the primary cause of the Great Depression was the war of 1914-1918. Without the war there would have been no depression of such dimensions. There might have been a normal cyclical recession; but, with the usual timing, even that readjustment probably would not have taken place at that particular period, nor would it have been a "Great Depression."
    • Herbert Hoover, The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Great Depression, 1929-1941 (1952) p. 2: Lead paragraph Chapter 1 : The origins of the Depression.
  • This is a nightmare, which will pass away with the morning. For the resources of nature and men's devices are just as fertile and productive as they were. The rate of our progress towards solving the material problems of life is not less rapid. We are as capable as before of affording for everyone a high standard of life ... and will soon learn to afford a standard higher still. We were not previously deceived. But to-day we have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand. The result is that our possibilities of wealth may run to waste for a time — perhaps for a long time.
    • John Maynard Keynes (1930), "The Great Slump of 1930" , in Essays in Persuasion; Referring to economics and the Great Depression.
  • Although I was not aware of it at the time, the experience of growing up during the Great Depression was to have a profound impact on my intellectual and professional career.
  • The early thirties brought what liberal economists called the great depression and Marxist economists described as the great crisis of capitalism. It dawned on me that the economic world order was unreliable, unstable, and, most of all, iniquitous. I sought intellectual contacts and friendship with a group of socialist students and also with a small handful of communist-oriented students and unemployed workers.

M - R[edit]

World War II ended the Great Depression with one of the great public-private industrial collaborations in the history of man. - Jon Meacham.
  • And we've had four more years pass where the age cohort that is most Democratic and most pro-statist, are those people who turned 21 years of age between 1932 and 1952--Great Depression, New Deal, World War II--Social Security, the draft--all that stuff. That age cohort is now between the ages of 70 and 90 years old, and every year 2 million of them die. So 8 million people from that age cohort have passed away since the last election; that means, net, maybe 1 million Democrats have disappeared--and even the Republicans in that age group. [...] You know, some Bismarck, German thing, okay? Very un-American. Very unusual for America. The reaction to Great Depression, World War II, and so on: Centralization--not as much centralization as the rest of the world got, but much more than is usual in America. We've spent a lot of time dismantling some of that and moving away from that level of regimentation: getting rid of the draft.
  • Facts are facts: No president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Great Depression inherited a worse economy, bigger job losses or deeper problems from his predecessor. But President Obama is moving America forward, not back.
  • I think what happened during the Great Depression was that African Americans understood that Republicans championed citizenship and voting rights but they became impatient for economic emancipation.
  • Looking back the great American ‘stabilisation’ [and boom] of 1922-1929 was really a vast attempt to destabilise the value of money in terms of human effort by means of a colossal programme of investment [driven by too easy credit]... which succeeded for a surprisingly long period, but which no human ingenuity could have managed to direct indefinitely on sound and balanced lines. [and therefore it ended dramatically in the huge 1929 stock market crash followed by the Great Depression].
    • Dennis Holme Robertson in "How Do We Want Gold to Behave?." The International Gold Problem, Humphrey Milford (1932): As cited in imagi-natives.com; Also cited in: Murray N. Rothbard (2013) America's Great Depression (LFB) p. 1921.
  • Recovery measures work better when they raise confidence - as Franklin D. Roosevelt understood. His fireside chats, and his inaugural address proclaiming he would fight the Great Depression with the same resolve he would muster against a foreign foe, were aimed at reassuring Americans.
  • I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
    • Karl Rove, Remarks of Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama Against Going to War with Iraq (2 October 2002); referencing the positions of former Pentagon policy adviser Richard Perle, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and chief Bush political adviser Karl Rove.

S - Z[edit]

  • During the Great Depression, levels of crime actually dropped. During the 1920s, when life was free and easy, so was crime. During the 1930s, when the entire American economy fell into a government-owned alligator moat, crime was nearly non-existent. During the 1950s and 1960s, when the economy was excellent, crime rose again.
  • From 1931 to 1935, I was an undergraduate at Cambridge in my father's old college, Gonville and Caius, which was particularly strong in medicine and the law. However, after two years of law I switched to economics, much to my father's disappointment. At that time the world was in the depth of the great depression and my motive for wanting to change subject was the belief, bred of youthful ignorance and optimism, that if only economics were better understood, the world would be a better place.
  • In the heart of the Great Depression, millions of American workers did something they'd never done before: they joined a union. Emboldened by the passage of the Wagner Act, which made collective bargaining easier, unions organized industries across the country, remaking the economy.
  • For me, growing up in the 1930s, the two motivations powerfully reinforced each other. The miserable failures of capitalist economies in the Great Depression were root causes of worldwide social and political disasters. The crisis triggered a fertile period of scientific ferment and revolution in economic theory.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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