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Throughout the 1920s, America's public figures considered a prosperous stock market to be a sign of a prosperous nation. While unemployment slowly rose and production dropped, leaders assured everyone that they should have faith in the economy. Then came the Great Crash on Wall Street. The loss of faith in public institutions devastated Americans ideologically just as it devastated the national economy - the US would never be the same again. This brief introduction paints the picture of life in America on the precipice of the Great Depression.