Dear Family and Friends, 3/7/31.
There is no purpose in life for me any more. Without the store to provide an income for me, my family will starve. Father, I am sorry that I have gotten you into this mess. I should have never borrowed money from you to start the store, and it is because of me that you have no money. I persuaded you to buy stocks, which you lost when the market fell. I am dearly sorry about Andrew, who I, in my rage over the bankruptcy, have killed. Do not mourn me, for I was only a burden on society. I wish good luck to everyone in these horrible times.
John Sharp (Based on true actions of family members).
This suicide is an example of what many people experienced after Black Thursday. Following a steady stock market increase in the 1920's, on October 24th (Black Thursday) the stock market crashed and almost 13 million shares were sold (Beil 51). This progressing bear market, a stock market trend of falling prices (Beil 56), caused many people to lose their money and their livelihoods. The gross national product declined by over half from the 1929 figure of $130,828,000,000 to $55,760,000,000 in 1933 ("Great Depression" par 1). Money invested in the stock market plummeted by 98% from 1929 to 1932 ("Great Depression" 505). The article "Great Depression" states that "in 1932, stock values were barely 20% of the 1929 peak" (505). The stock market crash of 1929 caused America's banks to fail, which caused unemployment to skyrocket, and led to the creation of the New Deal.
Just after the crash, swarms of people rushed to their banks to withdraw the only money they had left. These rushes were called bank runs. "Many banks lacked sufficient reserves to stay in business and became no more than convenient billboards" (Social Security Online History Page par. 3). Before the stock market fell, many banks had lent money to people who were unable to repay them (Sobel 340).