20 Feb The Great Depression – The Crash | 1
The Roaring Twenties came to a screeching halt on October 29, 1929, with the collapse of the U.S. stock market. A year earlier, president Herbert Hoover had coasted to victory by promising the American people “a chicken for every pot” and “a car in every backyard.” Lured by the promise of skyrocketing markets, many first-time investors got caught up in margin trading, borrowing money to make bigger stock purchases than they could actually afford. It was a foolproof way to make money, so long as stock prices kept rising.
But then, on the morning of Tuesday, October 29, more than sixteen million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. By the market’s close, investors had lost tens of billions of dollars — and kicked off a decade that would reshape American institutions, even as labor unrest, racial tensions, and the dark shadow of nativism pushed back from all sides.