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At the start of the 1920's, the times were peaceful and prosperous. The progress of society immediately following the Great War truly defined this time period as "The Roaring 20's" with it's increase of industrialization and creation of new technology.

Flourishing from its successes, the United States had many large cities growing at exponential rates, one being New York City, which at this time had become a major metropolis. A popular part of New York City was Wall Street's New York Stock Exchange, which is the world's largest stock exchange by dollar amount. It's popularity was due to very drastic, positive fluctuation in the stock market. Many people found great success with investing in the stock market in the 20's. From 1921 to 1929, the Dow Jones rocketed from a mere 40 to an outstanding 600! Millionaires were created almost instantaneously, but unfortunately, many citizens thought they could simply just join the crowd. Many investors foolishly mortgaged their homes, and invested their life savings into hot stocks such as Ford and RCA. Surprisingly, few people studied the fundamentals behind the companies they were investing their money into, and because of this, thousands of fraudulent companies were created to trick unsuspecting investors.

government-control-stock-market-crash-1.jpgDespite warnings against speculation, many people believed that the stock market would sustain it's high price levels. Irving Fisher, a popular economist and eugenicist, predicted and stated just days before the disaster that "Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." On October 24, 1929, the initial crash of the New York Stock Exchange had occurred, but it was the catastrophic events on both October 28th and 29th that would bring panic and disaster to the nation's populace.

Three phrases can be directly related to this time in history, and those are Black Thursday, Black Monday, and Black Tuesday (the crash didn't occur simply on one date). The crash in 1929 came to the nation during a time period of declining real estate values, which unfortunately, added to a series of events that led to the Great Depression. Many economists argue as to whether or not the crash was the initial cause of the Great Depression, but it was undoubtedly a factor in its upbringing. A stock market crash was very unexpected and seemed impossible to many; many people believed that the stock market "always went up".

By the year 1930, over 4 million American citizens were considered jobless. The crash had wiped out billions of dollars of wealth in just one day, and immediately depressed consumer buying. In just three days, the Roaring 20's had unexpectedly gone from a time of happiness and prosperity to a time of depression and disaster.


Anyone who bought stocks in mid-1929 and held onto them saw most of his or her adult life pass by before getting back to even.

- Richard M. Salsman, American Economist