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The stock-market crash of 1929 is generally seen as the start of The Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in the history of the United States. The Depression had devastating effects on the country. But it also served as a wake-up call for economic reform. Until the Great Depression, the U.S. government had made very few modifications to the nation's economic policies. It left the dealings of the economy and businesses to their own devices. But once the Great Depression began the nation needed help, FAST! The stock market was in shambles. Many banks closed. Farmers fell into bankruptcy and were forced off their land. Twenty-five percent of the work force, or 13 million people, were unemployed in 1932. In 1933, the Roosevelt Administration addressed the problem by making the government a key player in the nation's economy. Using his New Deal as a force for reform, President Roosevelt created policies, agencies and standards to help alleviate serious problems. The reforms provided America with an economy that has been relatively stable for almost 80 years. Students will be prompted to think about the different programs and policies the New Deal created and how they are relevant to the role of government, and fiscal, and monetary policy, both then and now.
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