How Did People Cope With the Great Depression?

Government programs like the New Deal helped Americans cope with the Great Depression, which began on Oct. 29, 1929. People still found inexpensive ways to have fun, like social activities and movies.

President Franklin Roosevelt had a plan to relieve the effects of the Great Depression as he took office in 1933. He helped devise a set of government projects and social programs known as the New Deal. Roosevelt soothed anxious Americans with “fireside chats” urging them to leave their money in the banks, which helped stabilize the economy. New bills and acts supported farmers, union workers and homeowners. The Works Progress Administration gave jobs to the unemployed during the Second New Deal in 1935.

Social activities helped relieve the gloom during the Great Depression. Families contributed homemade food to help run church functions, school activities and dances. Adults played cards and sang together. Children played with homemade toys or followed popular comic strips like Terry and the Pirates in local newspapers.

Movies gave all age groups a chance to escape from their overburdened lives. Screwball comedies and musicals were popular. In order to draw in customers at a time when money was tight, theater owners offered lower prices and door prizes. Climate-controlled theaters offered the downtrodden a chance to get away from their problems for a few hours.