In October of 1929, the United States experienced the deepest stock market crash in US history. The wealth of hundreds of thousands of Americans who had invested in the market during the widespread boom of the 1920s was wiped out. Banks closed, businesses shut down, and a large percentage of the population was suddenly out of work and out of money. In 1929 unemployment was less than three million; by 1932 it was twelve and a half million. In that same year, one-fourth of American households did not include a wage earner. For those who did have jobs, nine of ten companies cut wages and reduced workers’ hours, and in 1932 three-quarters of all workers were only working part time....

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