From 1929 to 1939, the United States experienced one of the harshest economic downturns in the history of the country. Initiated by the stock market crash of 1929, the decade that followed was marked by high unemployment rates and bank failures. Workers lost jobs along with their homes and possessions. Many of those who were able to keep their jobs barely made enough to make ends meet. The value of currency declined steadily, and the agricultural market spiraled downward. Panic spread throughout the country, and lives were turned upside down.

By 1933, nearly half of the banks in the country had failed, and almost 15 million people were unemployed. On the political front, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought sweeping changes to the country through his New Deal legislation, which promoted relief, recovery, and reform of the American economy.

Interactive exercise. Assistance may be required. There are several terms related to the Great Depression that are important for you to understand. Before you begin, try to match the terms on the right to the definitions on the left.