Timeline of the Great Depression
Source: The American Experience, PBS.
Accessed 29 Novermber 2001.

1929 October -- The stock market crashes, marking the end of six years of unparalleled prosperity for most sectors of the American economy. The "crash" began on October 24 (Black Thursday). By October 29, stock prices had plummeted and banks were calling in loans. An estimated $30 billion in stock values "disappeared" by mid-November.
November -- "Any lack of confidence in the economic future or the basic strength of business in the United States is foolish."--President Herbert Hoover.

March -- More than 3.2 million people are unemployed, up from 1.5 million before the "crash" of October, 1929. President Hoover remained optimistic however stating that "all the evidences indicate that the worst effects of the crash upon unemployment will have passed during the next sixty days."
November -- The street corners of New York City are crowded with apple-sellers. Nearly six thousand unemployed individuals worked at selling apples for five cents apiece.

1931 January -- Texas congressman Wright Patman introduces legislation authorizing immediate payment of "bonus" funds to veterans of World War I. The "bonus bill" had been passed in 1924. It allotted bonuses, in the form of "adjusted service certificates," equaling $1 a day for each day of service in the U.S., and $1.25 for each day overseas. President Hoover was against payment of these funds, saying it would cost the Treasury $4 billion.
February -- "Food riots" begin to break out in parts of the U.S. In Minneapolis, several hundred men and women smashed the windows of a grocery market and made off with fruit, canned goods, bacon, and ham. One of the store's owners pulled out a gun to stop the looters, but was leapt upon and had his arm broken. The "riot" was brought under control by 100 policemen. Seven people were arrested.

Resentment of "foreign" workers increases along with unemployment rolls. In Los Angeles, California, Mexican Americans found themselves being accused of stealing jobs from "real" Americans. During the month, 6,024 of them were deported. 

March -- Three thousand unemployed workers march on the Ford Motor Company's plant in River Rouge, Michigan. Dearborn police and Ford's company guards attack, killing four workers and injuring many more.
December -- New York's Bank of the United States collapses. At the time of the collapse, the bank had over $200 million in deposits, making it the largest single bank failure in the nation's history.

1932 January -- Congress establishes the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The R.F.C. was allowed to lend $2 billion to banks, insurance companies, building and loan associations, agricultural credit organizations and railroads. Critics of the R.F.C. called it "the millionaires' dole."
April -- More than 750,000 New Yorkers are reported to be dependent upon city relief, with an additional 160,000 on a waiting list. Expenditures averaged about $8.20 per month for each person on relief.
May -- More than 300 World War I vets leave Portland, Oregon en route to Washington, D.C. to urge Congress to pass the Bonus Bill. It took them eighteen days to reach Washington, D.C.
June -- Determined to collect their "bonus" pay for service, between 15,000 to 25,000 World War I veterans gather and begin setting up encampments near the White House and the Capitol in Washington, D.C. On June 15, the House passed Congressman Wright Patman's "bonus bill" by a vote of 209 to 176. The bill fell to defeat in the Senate, however, 62 to 18. The vets maintained their determination to stay camped out until they got their pay.
July -- Hoover signs a $100,000 transportation bill to assist "bonus Army" demonstrators in getting home. Hoover set a July 24 deadline for the men to abandon their encampments. On July 28, when some "bonus Army" members resisted being moved from their camps. Violence erupted, leading to the deaths of two veterans. Hoover ordered Federal troops, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, to assist D.C. police in clearing the veterans. 
July -- The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is authorized to lend needy states sums from the national Treasury. The money was to target relief and public works projects.
November -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President in a landslide over Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt received 22,800,000 popular votes to 15,750,000 for Hoover

 1929 - 1932 | 1933 - 1935 | 1936 - 1940