Chapter 25: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? The Great Depression, 1929-1932

Key Terms

American individualism
the belief, strongly held by Herbert Hoover and others, that hard work and individual effort, absent government interference, comprised the formula for success in the U.S.
bank run
the withdrawal by a large number of individuals or investors of money from a bank due to fears of the bank’s instability, with the ironic effect of increasing the bank’s vulnerability to failure
Black Tuesday
October 29, 1929, when a mass panic caused a crash in the stock market and stockholders divested over sixteen million shares, causing the overall value of the stock market to drop precipitously
Bonus Army
a group of World War I veterans and affiliated groups who marched to Washington in 1932 to demand their war bonuses early, only to be refused and forcibly removed by the U.S. Army
Clark Memorandum
Hoover’s repudiation of the Roosevelt Corollary that justified American military intervention in Latin American affairs; this memorandum improved relations with America’s neighbors by reasserting that intervention would occur only in the event of European interference in the Western Hemisphere
Dust Bowl
the area in the middle of the country that had been badly overfarmed in the 1920s and suffered from a terrible drought that coincided with the Great Depression; the name came from the “black blizzard” of topsoil and dust that blew through the area
Scottsboro Boys
a reference to the infamous trial in Scottsboro, Alabama in 1931, where nine African American boys were falsely accused of raping two White women and sentenced to death; the extreme injustice of the trial, particularly given the age of the boys and the inadequacy of the testimony against them, garnered national and international attention
Smoot-Hawley Tariff
the tariff approved by Hoover to raise the tax on thousands of imported goods in the hope that it would encourage people to buy American-made products; the unintended result was that other nations raised their tariffs, further hurting American exports and exacerbating the global financial crisis
the practice of investing in risky financial opportunities in the hopes of a fast payout due to market fluctuations


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