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"Economic Hardships of America in the Thirties"
Economic Hardships of America in the Thirties
It was a terrible time for the people in the United States' Great Plains when a seemingly endless drought followed excessive plowing of the soil and caused the earth to let loose it's hold on it's very skin. The stripped red soil boiled up into the air, infiltrating every crevice it could find, inanimate or alive.

The Dream

Wheat was a treasure crop in the 1920s. With more and more farmers owning tractors and combines they were seeing greater yields and profits than ever before. As a result they planted more wheat, and still more wheat. They expected the world market to continue buying it up as they had in the first few years of rapid production. 1931 saw record wheat crops and profits. Things were looking good.

The Market Over Flow

The market became glutted with wheat and prices plummeted in July of 1931. Farmers who made 68 cents a bushel in July 1930 made scarcely 25 cents a bushel a year later. Many farmers went broke and abandoned their fields all across the region. Throughout the decade people would be starved out of their homes. John Steinbeck's novel, "The Grapes Of Wrath" was published in 1939 and offers a vivid description of this desperate time.

"And then the dispossessed were drawn west- from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand." John Steinbeck, "The Grapes Of Wrath".

The Ruined Land

The other part of the problem was that the grasslands were considered worthless and were plowed under so that farmers could grow rich off of wheat. But it turned out that the roots of those scrappy dried out plains grasses were all that was holding the earth together. Without their...

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"Economic Hardships of America in the Thirties." Aug 16, 2018
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essay on Economic Hardships of America in the Thirties
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History / American History
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