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Great Depression: 1929–1938


Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA)

New Deal law creating the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and designed to restore agricultural prosperity by limiting the production of certain crops and reducing livestock populations

bank holiday

period during which all banks were forced to close so the government could determine their solvency, or whether the bank had sufficient assets to operate successfully; initiated by President Roosevelt in March 1933

bank run

when customers lose faith in their banking institutions and rush to withdraw their deposits, causing insolvency and bank failure

Bonus Army

march on Washington, DC, led by World War I veterans who demanded immediate payment of bonuses for their service in the war

buying on margin

practice of borrowing money from banks and other lenders to purchase stocks with the intent of selling the stocks for a profit at a later date

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

New Deal program that provided conservation jobs to unmarried men


severe, long-term economic recession


extended period of below average rainfall

Dust Bowl

environmental crisis that struck the Great Plains region during the 1920s, characterized by severe drought and widespread dust storms


gradual removal of rock or soil, usually by natural forces like wind and water

Fair Labor Standards Act

act that established an hourly minimum wage and rules governing overtime pay

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

institution created by the Glass-Steagall Act to insure bank deposits should a bank fail

Glass-Steagall Act

law to protect bank customers' money. It separated commercial from investment banks, set up the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and provided for bank oversight through the Federal Reserve.


makeshift towns populated by unemployed and dispossessed Americans, named for President Hoover

Indian Reorganization Act

act to give greater autonomy to Native American tribes across the country

National Housing Act

created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) with the goal of improving housing standards and making financing more attainable for homeowners

National Labor Relations Act

act to protect employee rights, including the right to organize and join a union as well as bargain collectively. It also established the National Labor Relations Board.

New Deal

economic programs, reforms, and regulations implemented during President Franklin Roosevelt's first two terms in office

Securities Exchange Commission (SEC)

commission created by the Securities Act and Securities Exchange Act to improve the transparency of the stock market and increase investor trust in the institution

Social Security Act

act that established a pension system for elderly Americans, funded through a payroll tax; later expanded to assist other groups, including dependents and the disabled


financial worth of a company that can be bought, sold, or traded in units called shares

stock market crash of 1929

collapse of the New York Stock Exchange that occurred on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929. Stock prices dropped dramatically.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

New Deal program created to enhance the standard of living in the Tennessee River Valley through natural resource planning and flood control

Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Second New Deal program that employed over 8.5 million Americans from a range of professions, including construction workers, artists, writers, and actors