Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 12: Depression and War
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Calvin Coolidge
Segment 1
Selling Apples during the Depression Crash

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It is 1927 and the stock market See It Now - New York Stock Exchange is climbing like fury. Everyone who owns stocks seems to be getting rich. So why don't you take your savings and buy as many stocks as you can? You can buy them on margin—borrowed money. That means you get lots of shares for little money. Which is exactly what you do. Then you feel very smart as the stock market balloon goes from big to bigger. By 1929 you are rich . As President Calvin Coolidge See It Now - Calvin Coolidge leaves office, he gives the market his blessing. "The stock market is absolutely sound," he says. Then comes October 24, 1929. Black Thursday. Something is wrong. The stock market balloon suddenly is pierced, and the air is seeping out fast. People are panicking. They are trying to sell their stocks See It Now - Wall Street Panic. But no one wants to buy stocks now. They have lost all their value. And remember those stocks you bought on margin with borrowed funds? Well, now you owe the lender money, possibly lots of money. You don't have any? You can sell your car, or house, or both. You lost your job, too? Too bad, but you still owe the money. Elliot V. Bell covered the crash for the New York Times: Hear It Now - Elliot Bell "It came with a speed and ferocity that left men dazed. The market seemed like an insensate thing that was wreaking a wild and pitiless revenge upon those who had sought to master it Check The Source - The Stock Market Crash."

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Did You Know?
Plans for New York City's Empire State Building (for many years the world's tallest) began at the height of the stock market boom. By the time it was built, in 1931, half the office floors had to be closed because there were no businesses to occupy them.

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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