Before World War I only small fractions of Americans invested or had interest in the Stock Market. Many Americans thought of Wall Street with fear and loathing. Populist politicians denounced Wall Street as the center of financial shell games thought up by millionaire operators like Gould, Drew, Morgan and others. But with the conclusion of the War, many of Americans were getting a different perspective of the Stock Market. Many lost fears of investing due to many were previously buyers of Liberty Bonds. Many Americans assumed they knew the advantages of investing and knowledgeable about stock splits, margin accounts, dividends, etc.
New financial methods, the investment trust offered new approaches to investing in the market and many major corporations such as General Motors, General Electric and AT&T offered common stock and bonds were starting to boom and attracted many new money-seeking investors. And till last month, the market was center of conversation, talked about and financial advice was shared everywhere! The market continued to increase, Major Corporations stocks rose incredibly. But brokers loans reached $137 million, and New York's banks were in debt to the Federal Reserve by $64 million. Warning signs began to appear in the market, and many market analysts began predicting the crash. Throughout the nation, thousands of investors were margin trading, buying stock on credit.
The margin trader bought stock by paying less than the full price. This was highly profitable but extremely risky. If the stock value decreased the customer had to invest more money to sustain the account. And if the stock kept falling, the customer would run out of their money, and the broker, who usually borrowed money from their banker, was forced to sell out the account for any amount offered. If the customer could not pay the broker, the broker was unable to pay the banker, which placed of them all in debt. Many banks wanted their money from brokers, brokers wanted their money from customers, and the only method most customers could get their money was by selling their stock.
And so there were massive rapid sales that totaled to nineteen million shares on Friday the 25th of October. The selling of the stocks depressed the market, in other words caused the stock market crash. Yesterday, on October 29, 1929 also known as "Black Tuesday", was the most devastating day in economic history, a total of 16,410,030 shares were sold. And today it is estimated that about thirteen to fifteen million people will be unemployed and in debt!
It is surprisingly quiet in Wall Street today, brokers brought records up to date and to their surprise noticed things were better than they had expected. But the market is still greatly depressed by the panic selling. And now, only President Herbert Hoover can assist our country and us by getting the U.S. out of the Depression!