The Crash of 1929

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The Crash of 1929

The documentary traces events from New Year’s Day 1929 to the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange and follows the lives of several people who played a role in the lead up to the crash.

1. What was the “New Era”?

2. What did economist John Kenneth Galbraith mean when by saying, “The US is afflicted with new eras”?

3. Why were ordinary Americans drawn to invest in the Stock Market?

4. Since stocks had no fixed value, what determined its value?

5. What made men like Michael Meehan, Jesse Livermore and Charles Mitchell so fascinating to the public?

6. What did Herbert Hoover say about poverty in the United States?

7. What was the significance of “buy now and pay later” to the consumer revolution?

8. Why did people believe that the US had entered an era of permanent prosperity?

9. What lured small investors into investing in stocks? How could the small investor invest like a big player?

10. What is meant by “Wall Street became Main Street”?

11. How did Wall Street operators manipulate the value of stock? (Forming pools, financial journals on the take, “painting the tape”, and “a little like musical chairs”)

12. What happened on March 8, 1929?

13. Who was Roger Babson and what did he have to say about stock market activity in 1929?

14. What level of responsibility did the President take for the US Economy?

15. What is the message of the story of Mayor Walker meeting with bankers in the home of Charles Mitchell?

16. What was the dilemma of the Federal Reserve Board when it began to deliberate whether it should step in to curb the borrowing on Friday, March 22, 1929? Note the Fed could have asked for regulation of the Stock Market.

17. How did the economy respond to the mini crash on Monday, March 25th?

18. What did Charles Mitchell do to attempt to stop the crash of March 25th? How did the Fed respond to Mitchell’s statement and actions? (Note, the following day the market rallied. It will continue to rise well into the Fall of 1929.)

19. What were the ominous signs in the Spring of 1929 that the American economy was in trouble?

20. What was the mass illusion that Galbraith spoke of in explaining that “stock prices no longer had anything to do with company profits”?

21. What was the “Babson Break” (September 1929)?

22. What did financial leaders tell the President as the market was floundering in mod September and early October?

23. An old saying on Wall Street the two most important emotions are fear and _________________.

24. What happened on October 23rd and October 24th 1929?

25. How bad was the Crash on October 29th?

26. According to Galbraith why is the Crash of ‘29 not a unique event?

27. Of the people followed in the video, who was covered in the most sympathetic way? Explain why.

(Charles Mitchell; William Durant; Michael Meehan; Jesse Livermore; Herbert Hoover; Groucho Marx; Thomas W. Lamont)

28. Who was the least sympathetic person shown in the video? Explain.

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