Background Information What do you know about the Dust Bowl and Great Depression?
Before the 1930s, farm life was booming in America. Farmers were making money on wheat.
With the invention of better tractors, farmers could plough the land more efficiently.
In the 1930’s, farmers lacked knowledge on soil conservation. When the crops failed year after year because of drought, there was nothing holding the soil in place.
Checkpoint #4 What do you think happens to loose, dry dirt on a windy day?
The Prairie winds made many dust storms.
Black Sunday, April 14, 1935 a dust storm turned day into night. Many believed the world was coming to an end.
Imagine trying to live in these conditions. The dust storms lasted from
Farmers and their families had to leave.
People were forced to sell their belongings.
Where would people displaced from their homes go? Checkpoint # /
California had great farmland and no dust. They would migrate to California.
What hardships were experienced in a refugee camp? Checkpoint # 6
Farming in the Panhandle Wheat was a real good thing. The world needed it and was paying a good price for it. Wheat farmers with tractors, one way plows and combines purchased by most farmers after the phenomenal crop of 1926, began plowing and planting wheat as never before. The lands were planted to wheat year after year without a thought as to the damage that was being done. Grasslands that should have never been plowed were plowed up. Millions of acres of farm land in the great plains were broken was dry but most of the farmers made a wheat crop. In 1931 the wheat crop was considered a bumper crop with over twelve million bushels of wheat. Wheat was everywhere, in the elevators, on the ground and in the road. The wheat supply forced the price down from sixty-eight cents/bushel in July 1930 to twenty-five cents/bushel in July Many farmers went broke and others abandoned their fields. With continuing hard times and dry years, the farmers, who still had a lot of pioneering spirit and faith in the land, made ready to weather the storms. The old survival methods of pioneering were brought out of storage, dusted off and put into practice. Many farmers increased their milk cow herd. The cream from the cows was sold and the skim milk was fed to chickens and pigs. When normal feed crops failed, thistles were harvested, and when thistles failed, hardy souls dug up soap weed which was chopped in a feed mill or by hand and fed to the stock. This was a back breaking, disheartening chore which would have broken weaker people. But to the credit of the residents of the Dust Bowl, they shouldered their task and carried on. “ Women looked after their families while the men looked for work.
Checkpoint # 6 What can you infer from this picture? What feeling does this image portray?
Steinbeck’s characters are based on the experiences of real people during the Great Depression.
Great Depression-worst economic collapse in history Stock market crashes on October 29, 1929 Known as Black Tuesday No money to replenish what was borrowed ics/great-depression/videos ics/great-depression/videos Many found being broke humiliating.
The Roaring 20 ’ s The new concept of “ credit ” People were buying: – Automobiles – Appliances – Clothes Fun times reigned – Dancing – Flappers – Drinking
Why was this bad? Credit system – People didn ’ t really have the money they were spending WWI – The U.S. was a major credit loaner to other nations in need – Many of these nations could not pay us back
The Stock Market People bought stocks on margins – If a stock is $100 you can pay $10 now and the rest later when the stock rose Stocks fall – Now the person has less than $100 and no money to pay back
And then…. With people panicking about their money investors tried to sell their stocks – This leads to a huge decline in stocks – Stocks were worthless now People who bought on “ margins ” now could not pay
Effects of The Great Depression 6,000 banks went out of business 9 million savings accounts vanished 85,000 businesses went bankrupt 13 million people were unemployed 400,000 farms were repossessed by banks 2,600 schools were closed Admissions to mental hospitals increased by 300% 2 million homeless men wandered looking for work Suicides increased by 30%