32¢ America Survives the Depression
Celebrate the Century – 1930s
Issue Date: September 10, 1998
City: Cleveland, OH
Printed By: Ashton–Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
In 1933, the average American worker was earning 60 percent less than he had just four years earlier. One out of four Americans could not even find a job. The Great Depression affected more than just people’s savings – it also put society and the American spirit in a slump. It would take a determined president and some radical changes to put America back on track.
Because of bank failures, people could not make their rent or mortgage payments. Many lost their homes, causing humiliation and anger. During this time, marriage and birth rates declined. Young people out of work delayed marriage, and couples uncertain of the future put off having children. The Depression caused people to distrust business and doubt their employer’s ability to protect workers, Many believed job security did not exist, and labor unions flourished as a result.
Promising Americans a “new deal,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933. Working with a new Congress for bold changes, he passed 15 major programs during his first 100 days in office. His radio addresses, the “fireside chats,” attempted to rebuild the country’s spirit. So stricken with polio he could stand only by using leg braces, Roosevelt’s innovations helped put a crippled America back on its feet.