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Breadlines sprang up in cities across the country during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Breadlines sprang up in cities across the country during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Breadlines sprang up in cities across the country during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Images of the Era: 1913-1945

Most Americans greeted the 20th century with optimism. The early decades saw economic growth and the expansion of democracy as women gained the vote. But two world wars, the Great Depression, and the nuclear age later tested such confidence.