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Exploring the Great History of Things in the Year 1931

Updated on October 20, 2011

During the Great Depression

The year was 1931, part of the Great Depression (1929-1939), when unemployment was high, farmland was lost and foreclosures forced people out of their homes.

John D. Rockefeller was quoted as saying, "These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again."

Some speculate the Great Depression began when the stock market prices took a collapse in Oct 1929.

While others blamed President Herbert Hoover for the conditions of the Great Despression.

One thing is certain, those days were especially difficult ones.

The Great Depression

The Dust Bowl

For several years poverty consumed, unemployment rose, and huge dust storms took place. The small farmers were hit especially hard. The conditions turned worse in farming areas when the commodity prices plunged.

Creating this dust bowl effect, these dust storms caused major agricultural damage across America and Canada. Intensified by drought conditions, many lost everything they had.

The severe drought took place during the early 1930’s causing crops to fail and wind storms carried the dry soil. Many areas were affected over the Great Plains of America. This greatly impacted the economic region during the Great Depression.

With useless acres of farmland, many Americans migrated west to escape and look for work, leaving their farms and everything behind.

The US Government responded by providing Drought Relief Services. The Government bought the cattle from farmers to be used for food distribution. In turn, families benefited nationwide. The farmers sold their cattle and the program helped many families avoid bankruptcy.

Other Government programs were designed to conserve the soil and restore the lands.

The Great Depression were hard times indeed.

By 1931, many were losing their homes to foreclosure and were left homeless. Living in boxcars along the railroad, many set up their homes in shacks and tents, or set foot to the great highways.

With unemployment reaching staggering numbers, Americans were found standing in food lines in order to feed their families.

The 1930’s were turbulent years.

The year of 1931 captured the essence of that time. With few jobs and many losing their homes, those days were difficult.

The Great Depression

Just Give Me Shelter

The Grapes of Wrath

Based on John Steinbeck’s book The Grapes of Wrath, was a movie made in 1940.

In some ways it parallels the economic struggles of today’s society.

In the movie, a family sets out on an adventure road trip to California to find the American dream. The story is set during the Great Depression starring Henry Fonda whose fight for dignity is showcased.

His hunger in the demand for righteousness is inspirationally played. His moving “I’ll be there” Speech inspired us with some of these words,

“I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they know supper is ready. When the people are eating the stuff they raised, living in the house they built, I’ll be there too.”

All people need encouragement. They need to know things will get better.

The Grapes of Wrath was a movie filled with inspiration teaching us valuable lessons from the Great Depression.

Images of families sticking together and teaching us to not take things for granted, creating a society where we should never live beyond our means.

The hunger of the common man is the same today. Fighting against banks and establishments which force foreclosures on so many people, unemployed Americans need to have hope.

Many are searching for that American dream and all they ask for is a little dignity and some fair wages along the way.

What is common to man is common in us all.



Children of the Great Depression

Exploring the History of 1931

The year of 1931 brought out some other notable stories.

The average American home cost about $6790 US, the average cost of gas was a mere 10 cents.

Times have changed in 80 years.

Featured items to mention include The Star Spangled Banner, officially named as the national anthem in this year.

Other historical markings in this year included the Empire State Building, located in New York, completed and named as the tallest building in the world. This building also made movies famous such as in the legendary scene of King Kong. While the setting inspired by many, produced the likes of movies such as An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle.

In sports history, the St. Louis Cardinals won the 28th World Series of Baseball in 1931. In hockey, the Montreal Canadians won the Stanley Cup beating out the Chicago Blackhawks.

People born in this year include these famous people, such as legendary actor James Dean, Robert Duvall, Larry Hagman, and from the Star Trek series, actors Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. Of course we cannot forget Mr. Cub (himself) Ernie Banks.

Also born in 1931, some not so famous people including my mom.

She is the reason I wrote this story. It is my dedication to a woman who survived some very tough times.

As time goes by, history repeats itself. Recollection of memories for those days gone by can be learning lessons to us all. Grabbing onto something we hope to bring us joy and contentment, we seek material things for comfort.

In tough times, we learn valuable lessons. Lessons that inspire us to teach to our children. Lessons to be handed down to generations to come.

Doing the research for this article gave me a grand appreciation to those ancestors. The people who worked hard for a living, those who had to suffer to make ends meet, they are the ones who inspire me every day.

My parents taught me some valuable lessons in life and I'm blessed because of it.

As Time Goes By-Dedication to My Parents

Additional Resources on History

Who do you think you are?

Exploring your ancestry at

Research further American History at

Research and reference statistics available at


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    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thank you Vocalcoach. You are an inspiration here. I am encouraged by your generous and kind comments.

      You put a smile on my face today. Thank you..God Bless you.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I love this hub so much! You have done an outstanding job - absolutely marvelous. You are an excellent writer and have put so much time and research into this article. Your mother is so proud of you - that...I am certain of.

      I am bookmarking this and forwarding it on to friends and family. Thank you, FaithDream. I am, of course a huge fan! Voted up and pushed every button. :)

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      From lkouh8, translated: Hello I love this page

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      ,lkouh8 6 years ago

      hola me gusta mucho esta pagina

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 6 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      We should never forget the great depression. my heart feels for the people who lost so much. nice that you dedicated this to your mom. thank you for sharing

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thank you RJ for your words of encouragement. I appreciate the following of confidence.

      I enjoyed doing this article, it connected me back to my parents in so many ways.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thank you for stopping by Case1worker. I appreciate your input. That is an interesting note about the cotton fields.

      This article was a tribute to the many generations who lived during that time. It was not intended to compare the great depression to what is happening in the world today. It would be mere speculation. Any parallels noted are to conjure up emotions and spark the thoughts of humankind.

      I do appreciate your comments. It got me to thinking.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Yes our parents went through this. Let's hope we do better. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. Up one and USeful. Hey! I'm now your fan! RJ

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      thanks for this hub- It is sometimes thought that it was the over reliance on cotton as a crop created the dust bowls as cotton is a demanding crop which lowered the water table to dangerous limits.

      Any comparism between the post crash economy and today's economy should be treated carefully.