Marking the beginning of the American Great Depression, October 24, 1929 would come to be called Black Thursday for the dark times it heralded. Stock prices plummeted and in the weeks that followed, billions of dollars worth of stock would simply vanish as speculators desperately tried to escape the crash. Ironically, it was this kind of behavior that sealed many speculators’ fates.
Despite the obvious severity of the situation, President Herbert Hoover remained optimistic as the American economy collapsed. Unfortunately, his hands-off approach to managing the Depression resulted in rising unemployment, bank failures, and radical fluctuation in inflation. In response, thousand of people who were left homeless as the Great Depression sapped them of their means of living gathered in Hoovervilles to protest his inaction.
In 1932, Herbert Hoover was replaced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt by a vast majority of the popular vote. In the first two years in office, Roosevelt attempted to reinvigorate the American economy by signing bills to provide funds for failing banks and by creating organizations like the Tennessee Valley Authority and Civilian Conservation Corps to provide desperately needed jobs.