During the Great Depression, the relationship between the government and public changed forever. The individualism and Social Darwinism of the 20’s gave way to a new dependence on government programs and an expectation that the government should regulate the economy and help those in need. The relationship between the public and banks also changed. The booming economy of the 20s’ led people to buy on credit. Americans trusted in the banks and in the seemingly stable economy.
However, after the great stock market crash, Americans rushed to take their money out of the banks they no longer trusted. Bank failures were partially caused by so many people losing faith in their banks at once and withdrawing all the currency the banks needed to survive, leading them to close and lose many people’s money.
This is an interdisciplinary lesson, using both history and ELA standards. In this lesson, students will read primary sources about banking from right before the Great Depression, during the height of the Great Depression, and towards the end of the Great Depression. Students will analyze the rhetoric of the documents and how it is used to achieve purpose.