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Great Depression

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The Great Depression was the longest and most severe business slump in U.S. history. The Great Depression began with the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and didn't fully end until the U.S. entered World War II in 1941. The causes of the Great Depression are hotly debated. But excessive stock market speculation, restrictive trade practices, Federal Reserve policies, and the collapse of the gold standard are all offered as reasons for the Great Depression. During the worst years of the Great Depression from 1929 to 1933, some 11,000 of America's 25,000 banks failed and stocks lost 80% of their value; the Great Depression also saw the unemployment rate rise to 25%. The Great Depression soon spread beyond the U.S., abetting the rise of Nazi Germany. The Great Depression also had enormous political consequences in the U.S., causing a vast expansion of Federal economic intervention. The Great Depression propelled Congress into passing the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. which established the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Glass-Steagall Act, which segregated commercial and investment banking for more than half a century.

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