The American stock market collapses, signaling the onset of the Great Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average peaks in September 1929 at 381.17—a level that it will not reach again until 1954. The Dow will bottom out at a Depression-era low of just 41.22 in 1932. Unemployment is 3.2%
Congress passes the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, steeply raising import duties in an attempt to protect American manufacturers from foreign competition. The tariff increase has little impact on the American economy but plunges Europe farther into crisis. Unemployment reaches 8.9%
New York's Bank of the United States collapses in the largest bank failure to date in American history. $200 million in deposits disappear, and the bank's customers are left holding the bag. Unemployment reaches 16.3%
Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt defeats incumbent Republican President Herbert Hoover in a landslide to win the presidency. Unemployment reaches 24.1%
"Radio Priest" Charles Coughlin's weekly broadcast draws an average of 30 to 45 million listeners. Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated into office as 32nd President of the United States. Upton Sinclair publishes I, Governor of California and How I Ended Poverty: A True Story of the Future, a fictionalized political treatise that lays out the agenda of a communitarian movement Sinclair calls EPIC—End Poverty in California. Unemployment reaches 24.9%
Unemployment reaches 21.7%, Huey Long founds the Share Our Wealth society, advocating outright seizure of the "excess fortunes" of the rich to redistribute to the poor.