Causes and Effects of the Great Depression

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Recent modeling work (, ) has claimed that the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s was forced by small changes in tropical SSTs, essentially several persistent years of La Niña-like conditions in the Pacific and a warm subtropical North Atlantic Ocean, both of which are assumed to have had natural origins. If this is so then it means that, had the SSTs been known in advance, it would have been possible to predict that the drought was to occur and, perhaps, the environmental and social catastrophe of the Dust Bowl could have been ameliorated.

Surviving the Dust Bowl.’

One of the main causes of the Dust Bowl ..

The inability to correctly model the spatial pattern of the Dust Bowl drought, and its deviation from the typical pattern of tropical SST-forced drought, makes us wonder how unusual the Dust Bowl pattern was. Analyses of instrumental data since the mid nineteenth century - shows that none of the other five multiyear droughts in this interval (1856-65, 1870-77, 1890-96, 1948-57 and post 1998) had a similar pattern. For a longer record we examined the updated version of the gridded tree ring records within the North American Drought Atlas. Computation of the spatial correlation between the Dust Bowl pattern and six year low pass filtered data revealed only three prior droughts that had an anomaly correlation exceeding 0.4 (Figure 4). All were in the Medieval period. No other droughts had an AC exceeding 0.31 presenting a clear separation between Dust Bowl type droughts and the more commonly occurring pattern with a center in the Southwest and southern and central Plains.

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Up until the middle 1800s, slavery was kept as a background issue that remained largely the concern of political leaders of the South, and abolitionists of the North. But in 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, sponsored by Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, brought slavery to the forefront of national attention. Kansas-Nebraska eliminated the old Missouri Compromise (which in 1820 had designated areas of the new territories in which slavery could and could not be introduced) and made it possible for slavery to be introduced in virtually new territory. Douglas called the concept of allowing residents of the territories to decide the slavery issue for themselves . Kansas-Nebraska caused a firestorm to errupt in the North, awakening many people to the danger of the potential spread of slavery. Moderate politicians such as Abraham Lincoln became active in the cause of fighting both the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the spread of slavery.

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