The Great Depression: A Comprehensive Worksheet


The Great Depression, a catastrophic economic downturn that began in 1929 and continued for a decade, left an indelible mark on American history. It was a time of immense suffering and hardship for millions of people. This worksheet provides a comprehensive overview of the Great Depression, its causes, impact, and some key figures associated with this tumultuous period in history.

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I. Causes of the Great Depression

  1. Stock Market Crash of 1929
    • Describe the events leading up to the stock market crash.
    • Explain how the crash triggered the Great Depression.
  2. Bank Failures
  3. Dust Bowl
    • Explain the Dust Bowl phenomenon and its impact on agriculture.
    • Discuss how environmental factors contributed to the crisis.

II. The Impact on Society

  1. Unemployment and Poverty
    • Analyze the staggering unemployment rates during the Great Depression.
    • Describe the living conditions of those affected by poverty.
  2. Homelessness and Hoovervilles
    • Explain what Hoovervilles were and how they emerged.
    • Discuss the challenges faced by the homeless population.
  3. Migration Patterns
    • Describe the mass migration of people in search of work.
    • Highlight the emergence of shantytowns and tent cities.

III. Government Response

  1. New Deal Programs
    • Discuss the key components of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
    • Explain how these programs aimed to provide relief, recovery, and reform.
  2. Social Security Act
    • Explain the significance of the Social Security Act of 1935.
    • Discuss its long-term impact on social welfare in the United States.
  3. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
    • Describe the creation and purpose of the FDIC.
    • Explain how it aimed to restore confidence in the banking system.

IV. Key Figures

  1. Franklin D. Roosevelt
    • Provide a brief biography of President Roosevelt.
    • Explain his role in addressing the Great Depression.
  2. John Steinbeck
    • Introduce the famous author and his connection to the Great Depression.
    • Discuss the themes of his works, such as “The Grapes of Wrath.”
  3. Dorothea Lange
    • Explain the role of photographer Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression.
    • Showcase some of her iconic photographs.


The Great Depression was a tumultuous period in American history that reshaped the nation in profound ways. This worksheet has provided an overview of its causes, impact on society, government responses, and key figures associated with this era. Understanding the Great Depression is crucial for appreciating the resilience of the American people and the policies that emerged to prevent such a crisis from happening again.