To properly understand the events of the time, it is factually appropriate to view the Great Depression as not one, but four consecutive downturns rolled into one. These four "phases" are:[2]

I. Monetary Policy and the Business Cycle

II. The Disintegration of the World Economy

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III. The New Deal

IV. The Wagner Act

The first phase covers why the crash of 1929 happened in the first place; the other three show how government intervention worsened it and kept the economy in a stupor for over a decade. Let’s consider each one in turn.


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