"The Crash" wasn't as sudden or violent as, say, a car crash, but its effects were certainly painful for an entire generation of Americans—not to mention people around the world.
|Texas EOC||U.S. History EOC Assessment|
|U.S. History EOC Assessment||History|
Let me go back to the beginning.
Okay, a little after that. It was 1928... and the day of my twelfth birthday.
My parents wanted to give me a little capital to start my own business.
So they started me out with ten dollars... [parents give kid $10]
and I was able to set up shop at the end of the driveway.
For a while there, my name was synonymous with lemonade. [kid runs lemonade stand]
In a year's time, I had saved one hundred dollars. A small fortune. [kid puts money in piggy bank]
Of course, my parents wanted me to invest my earnings.
If there was anything that the boom of the 1920's had taught us,
it was that stocks were a "sure thing."
Dad hooked me up with his broker, who allowed me to borrow ten times as much money, as equity...
...and to buy stocks with it at some pretty fantabulous rates. [kid walk to stock market]
So I borrowed one thousand dollars and bought eleven hundred dollars'
worth of stock in an oil company.
At one dollar a share, I was able to buy eleven hundred shares. [kid with oil rig in background]
Because of all the consumer optimism at the time, everyone was pouring money into the
stock market, and my oil company was raking it in.
Before long, my stock had risen to three dollars a share, and I was
laughing all the way to the bank.
Taking into consideration my original investment,
I was suddenly worth two grand, give or take.
And I could have had all that deniro... if I had sold right then.
Oh, if only someone had visited me from the distant future...
to steer me in the right direction!
Okay, so my parents suggested I sell, but they're my parents.
They also think I should eat all my Brussels sprouts too.
I have to take everything they say with a grain of salt.
Instead, I listened to this Wall Street analyst who said my stock
was going to ten dollars a share and I'd be crazy to sell.
I didn't want to be called crazy...
So I didn't sell.
Sure enough, the stock tanked... as did the rest of the market. [militay tank explodes]
By the time my oil company had dropped back down
to its original price of one dollar a share, I was broke.
The taxes and interest had cleaned me out...
I didn't even have my original hundred dollars anymore. [kid at broken lemonade stand]
And it happened so fast.
At the end of the day, my stock had dropped even further, and was now at seventy cents a share.
I was bankrupt, and the brokerage was left having to pay what I couldn't.
They were suddenly several hundred bucks in the hole.
Sadly, my story isn't a unique one.
Last year's crash wiped out nearly everyone who had put a good chunk of their savings [old newspapers about the crash]
into the stock market. But at least I'm a kid, and I've got my
whole life to learn from past mistakes and hopefully carve out a good life for myself.
The same can't be said for a lot of grown-ups.
When the bottom dropped out of the economy, it hurt everyone pretty badly.
Demand for goods plummeted because those who had lost a bundle in the stock market suddenly
had holes in their pockets.
And good luck financing new investments through the sale of stock.
Nobody was buying stocks any longer.
They weren't falling for that again.
But in the meantime, millions had lost their jobs.
... their homes...
...and had to start standing in breadlines and visiting soup kitchens
just to keep some meat on their quickly deteriorating bones. [old photos of people in line for food]
Some even gave up all hope and jumped out of a twenty-story window.
Believe it or not, those guys were in even worse shape than my bike.
Speaking of which, I should probably get this guy down to the scrap metal yard so I can sell it for parts.
Maybe I can scrounge together enough coins to buy a few slices of bread for dinner.
But, you know... enjoy your Chinese take-out, or whatever you're having tonight.