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The Great Depression, 1929-33

4. Support Networks

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In this module, we think about the support networks available for those people caught up in the Great Depression, focusing in particular on: (i) the lack of any kind of national unemployment benefit in the United States at this time; (ii) the existence of local, ad hoc support networks, e.g. local charities, the church, etc.; (iii) the rise in migration, especially migration from the cities into the countryside; (iv) the failure of the free market: coal miners in Kentucky without food while famers in Iowa burn corn-on-the-cob for fuel; (v) President Hoover's measures to help alleviate the crisis; and (vi) the extent to which the events of the Great Depression led Americans to rethink the proper role of government.


In this course, Professor Peter Fearon (University of Leicester) explores the economic downturn and financial crisis in the United States in the period 1929-33. In the first module, we think about the origins of the economic downturn, including the Wall Street crash of October-November 1929. In the second module, we think about the key features of the economic and financial collapse, focusing in particular on the collapse of the baking sector, before turning in the third module to consider how the crisis played out for people living in farms and rural communities. Finally, in the fourth module, we think about support networks were available for those caught up in the Great Depression.


Professor Peter Fearon is Emeritus Professor of Modern Economic and Social History at the University of Leicester. His research interests centre on economic change in the United States in the 20th century, agricultural history of the mid-West in the 1920s and 1930s and the New Deal economic and social policies.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Fearon, P. (2021, March 19). The Great Depression, 1929-33 - Support Networks [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Fearon, P. "The Great Depression, 1929-33 – Support Networks." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 19 Mar 2021,

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