Hy 1120 3 Questions

 (please separate each question )

Question 1

Discuss the changing economic landscape of the United States between the world wars. In your response, trace the highs and lows from the fallout of World War I, the onset of the Great Depression, and the impact of the New Deal. How did these trends have an impact on marginalized communities?

Your response should be a minimum of 300 words , in your OWN WORDS !!

Question 2 Pt 1 ( no word count but reply must be engaging )

For your first post, use specific examples from our reading to consider how the cultural products of the Great Depression served to reflect and shape Americans’ fears and concerns during that period.

Question 2 pt. 2( no word count but reply must be engaging )

For your second post, compare a classmate’s first post re: our reading to how the Great Depression is “memorialized” or presented in media or literature. If you see a difference between the movies and literature about that time and the scholarly histories of that time, please explain what you see.

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Course Learning Outcomes for Unit IV Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

1. Describe the impact of industrial expansion on the evolution of big business in the United States. 1.1 Recognize how the New Deal attempted to impact business in America. 1.2 Describe the impact that the Great Depression had on America’s changing economic


4. Summarize the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on America’s societal infrastructure. 4.1 Recognize the varied economic policies and New Deal programs that served as catalysts for

social growth. 4.2 Identify popular media figures associated with post-World War I (WWI) America. 4.3 Identify themes associated with the Great Depression era.


Course/Unit Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity

1.1 Unit Lesson Readings: U.S. History Unit IV Assessment

1.2 Unit Lesson Readings: U.S. History Unit IV Assessment

4.1 Unit Lesson Readings: U.S. History Unit IV Assessment

4.2 Unit Lesson Readings: U.S. History Unit IV Assessment

4.3 Unit Lesson Readings: U.S. History Unit IV Assessment


Reading Assignment Throughout this course, you will be provided with sections of content from the online resource U.S. History. You may be tested on your knowledge and understanding of the material listed below as well as the information presented in the unit lesson. Click on the link below to access your material. Click here to access this unit’s readings from U.S. History. The chapter/section titles are also provided below. Chapter 25 (Sections 25.1–25.4): Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? The Great Depression, 1929-1932 Chapter 26 (Sections 26.1–26.3): Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932-1941

Unit Lesson Fallout of the Great War For Americans, the decades between the world wars were times of contrast and change—and with good reason. The visual images of the Great Depression, such as businessmen in bread lines, have etched themselves into the nation’s memory, but that is only a part of the story. This would be a time of great joy and


The Great Depression and the New Deal




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heartbreak, triumph and adversity, and magic—perhaps best encapsulated in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1924 masterpiece The Great Gatsby. This setting provides a backdrop to the attitudes and extravagances of American society in the Roaring Twenties. Although the more outrageous fads of the time would fade, some of the cultural gifts continue today. Perhaps the most timeless, poignant donation is the fervent flowing radiance of jazz music, impassioned enough to stimulate dance, decadence, and deception, but with the soul to personify both the highs and lows of the era. Unit IV will focus on the fallout of the Great War, the realities of coming home in the wake of great changes, and the society that was mortared back together from a world at war. American Renewal The end of the Great War brought about a period of renewal in America. Though the United States’ time in the war was limited, it took its toll on the younger generation by accounting for more than 320,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action. As with any war, there would soon be a period of economic deterioration causing widespread loss of jobs, great migrations in search of opportunity, and a renewed period of struggles. The first modern war was a nightmare—a conflict so devastating that many believed it was barbaric enough to ensure that another war would never begin. In the wake of the war, there would continue to be waves in political leadership, including Harding and Fall’s scandalous Teapot Dome and Hughes’s ambitious Five-Power Naval Treaty of 1922, which put limits on naval power and created worries about being able to defend the Pacific, but as a whole, it was a return to politics as usual. Today, we know that there would soon be an even more devastating series of conflicts on the horizon, but at the time, it was a period of thankfulness and celebration. The 1920s remain as one of the most iconic decades for the United States. The affordable automobile may be one of the strongest manifestations of this ideal. Loud and flashy, the automobile inspired exploration, innovation, and even youthful expression to breathe a renewed zeal into the nation. Henry Ford’s savvy business success was not without a more universal purpose and outcome; in addition to a rise in the necessity for car parts, America’s obsession with travel would inspire new roads and services, introducing the iconic styles of glass gas pumps and full-service stations. Motels and restaurants would appear and grow more successful businesses to serve the growing numbers of weary travelers. Sometimes, even new communities would arise, perhaps most notably in regions outside of the chaos and racket of major cities—areas that are known as suburbs in today’s society.

Troops returning from war (Library of Congress, 1919)





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New Normal There was also a new “normal” for many demographics in the population that had spent much of the previous century simply trying to have their voices heard. Women, for the first time, were given ballots to vote for the president. Despite Harding’s failures in office, this first election after the war was one of great significance concerning equality for all Americans. Women again would defy expectations with a rise in the number of individuals seeking education and being admitted to college, and the public image of women was shaped by the increasingly popular magazines geared toward women, which threatened to shatter the gender spheres of influence. This culminated in another chance for controversial reform: the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Like suffrage, the ERA would emphasize the equal ability and intelligence of women. However, this would ultimately find defeat in the political halls. Unlike the suffrage debate, the divide between supporters was not as pronounced along gender lines. The question of what equality really meant became a common topic of conversation. Would this equality stop at wage increases, or was there a barrier that could safeguard protective legislation, such as maternity leave and related provisions, types of extreme physical labor, and even gender-specific washroom facilities? This reform would again shake the expectations of society and lead to a new generation of outspoken female leaders in the coming decades. Another group tried to once again find their place in American society—African Americans, many of whom were veterans of the war and fresh from an overwhelming acceptance by the French. These efforts would again lead to large patterns of migration due to inefficient or corruptive influences in regions of heightened segregation, including a clear negative influence in the American Southeast. This was punctuated by a pronounced (and often publicly sponsored) revival of hate groups who tried to use religious and moral imagery to spread their message to the susceptible masses. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan resurged during this era, becoming an unavoidable reality. Now much less a secret society than an unofficial policing agent, their message of 100% Americanism ensured that segregation was kept alive not only in the Old South but throughout the nation. In the North, which had been the destination for many during current and earlier migrations, a wave of culture change encapsulated the spirit of the society. Marcus Garvey built a regiment of supporters who joined his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in droves, and the term New Negro was coined as a way to identify those who influenced a renewed era of culture that was reflective of the African American. This culture became known as The Harlem Renaissance and resulted in the creation of a rich legacy of great works of art that were painted, written, and performed musically, especially in an era bearing witness to the rise of jazz and blues. The literary magazine Fire! showcased a new generation of African American artists. Among these were poet Langston Hughes and author Zora Neal Hurston, famous for her anthropological stories of African American folktales and the novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God and Dust Tracks on a Road. For many of the upper-class citizens, this became a time of luxury and criminal mischief. The Eighteenth Amendment, which banned all manufacture, sale, and ingestion of alcoholic beverages, had an unexpected consequence—crime grew throughout the nation. In major cities, such as Chicago, crime bosses could have more power than police chiefs. To many people, figures such as Al Capone were viewed as kings, offering debauchery to anyone choosing to partake. Today, the image of the semi-hidden speakeasy is still prevalent throughout the media. Gambling, alcohol, prostitution, and other crimes against moral standards were less and less of a risk for those seeking these vices, which included politicians, writers, artists, and other persons of influence and affluence throughout society. This was just a taste of the kind of corruptive influence that was present in this era. Not unlike the political machines a century earlier, these kings of influence had a resilient hold on the lower and working classes. However, unlike Boss Tweed and his contemporaries, these newer kings were, more often than not, deposed by being riddled with bullets. They were finally brought under control with a repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1933. The Great Depression Just as many had taken the era by storm, there were also those who became immersed in more melancholy views. Often associated with the horrors of war, changes in the society they had known, or simply drowning in the vices of the age, cultural titans such as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald




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illuminated a darker side of the time, a reality for many in the shadows of the showy lights. These artists discussed themes of poverty, loss, prejudice, and missed opportunity. This Lost Generation provides even modern readers with a depiction of timeless struggles and human emotions drowned out by society. These depictions, ranging from rural Mississippi, to Cuban seas, to lavish New York, still have a way of reaching out to us in modern times. They would become increasingly relevant to all as the next great challenge arose: a worldwide economic collapse of unprecedented scale.

The Great Depression hit the world from seemingly out of nowhere. Its devastating effects would cripple the country’s economic infrastructure and hierarchy. President Herbert Hoover, who took office in January 1929 on a platform of savings and reform, may be better known today for Hoovervilles— the unflatteringly named tenements filled with starving Americans—than any action taken during his presidency. Though a veteran of strife and personal ambition based on his own need, Hoover failed to provide leadership during a calamity to the extent of the Great Depression. By 1929, the U.S. economy was reaping what it had sown in the years after the war. The U.S. decision to forego providing aid for European rebuilding and instead contributing to the devastation through demands of wartime repayment meant that traditional buyers were no longer able to purchase industrial goods, and the economic collapse finally spread across

the Atlantic. In addition, poor management of funds only caused greater economic divide in America. Segregation of haves from have-nots increased, creating greater social tensions throughout the population. Hoover tried to keep the nation’s head above water through plans of good faith between production and industry, but as debt rose, so did frustrations. Implementing tariffs and taxes, lowering prices, and limiting supply all failed to resurrect the economy. National spending, though helpful to a few, was far too late. When he left office, Hoover had seen the American economy shrink to nearly half its worth in 1929. In 1933, the economy was the lowest it had been in a generation. Millions of people had lost everything, and there was no longer faith in his leadership to correct the nation’s course. Once again, the desperation led to rash action, which meant new spikes in racism, such as the Scottsboro case, and a renewal of two controversial voices in American politics: Socialism and Communism. The Second Roosevelt As much as Hoover had appealed to the common person with his poor upbringing, it was difficult for the now- destitute American voter to imagine one of his or her own having the answer to battling the Depression. It is from this frustration that the nation would find Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). A cousin of the charismatic former president Theodore Roosevelt, FDR was also a demanding character with a face that the camera loved. FDR practiced a policy of government that worked for the people, not one asserting that better times were ahead. It was this enthusiasm that had brought him success as New York’s governor. In 1932, FDR and Hoover were complete opposites in the eyes of the American people, and that was the perfect recipe for bringing the Democratic Party back into the White House for the first time since the Civil War.

School children line up for free issue of soup and a slice of bread in the Depression (Hood, 1934)

A Hooverville in Portland, Oregon (Rothstein, 1936)




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FDR made himself what he had to be—a man of the people. Though this was almost an insult to the elites who shared his experiences, Roosevelt proved his willingness and ability to reach out to the struggling masses. Perhaps his greatest gift was his ability to use the technology of the day to his advantage. Being stricken with polio, he had limited ability to walk, which might have unfairly discounted him in a more prosperous or invasive era. However, that handicap was cleverly hidden with camera tricks and a dedicated support network. Despite this affliction, Roosevelt embraced the office of a public figure, speaking directly to the American people in their homes via radio broadcast of his Fireside Chats. He provided a calm but assertive reminder that there was a strong, charismatic, and active voice behind the American public’s interests. FDR knew that time was not his ally, and he promised the American people that changes would come soon—a plan that he explained would unfold in the first 100 days of his term. This plan would eventually become known as the New Deal. In simplest terms, the New Deal was a series of federally funded programs, most of which put the average American person back to work, generally on projects that directly addressed other government needs such as infrastructure building. Other programs that were also a part of this New Deal would be those that reformed banking practices to ensure that the people’s money was safe. Now, with money in people’s pockets and faith in financial institutions, Americans could again become consumers, and with consumption, the downward spiral started to reverse. Of course, no plan is perfect, and there is always an opposing side. FDR’s plan was no different. Republicans, now out of their accustomed political roles, argued about loopholes in the programs. They claimed that the plan was fascist and unequally beneficial to different-sized businesses and farms as well as anti-capitalistic in nature. One program, the National Recovery Administration, was even declared unconstitutional. Even nature seemed to be against FDR. John Steinbeck’s masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath describes the hardships of the dustbowl that plagued the American Midwest in the 1930s, describing it and the economic plight as akin to a trial, death, or a demon itself. Despite the disbelievers and heartache, the New Deal quickly benefited millions. With that motivation, a second major effort was launched in 1935 with the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This program was also geared toward lowering unemployment and satisfying public work needs. Roosevelt, remember, considered himself as a man for the people. However, as widespread as these programs were, many in the American population still would not directly benefit. In this time of uncertainty, even those who were able to remain employed needed some assistance against the big businesses, such as steel, which held all bargaining power in the down economy. With this in mind, unionization, which had emerged initially as a socialist measure, was given a much-needed ally in 1935 with the Wagner Act and John L. Lewis’ Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO). These guaranteed the safety and legality of unions. The next and perhaps most notable still-existing program today would address those who could no longer work but who felt the economic strain all the same: Social Security. Though not as comprehensive as today, it did ensure benefits for a struggling population. Even with these plans, life was not perfect, and many people continued to suffer. This was especially true for the youngest and

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)—a man of the people (Suckley, 1941)




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oldest, those without deep American or European roots, and those suffering through segregation. Still, the majority of the population saw the American economy shifting to the positive. FDR soundly won reelection in 1936 and subsequently took the opportunity to guarantee additional political support. Using age against several current judges, he opened new positions on the Supreme Court to account for Republican carryovers. This meant that he would be able to guarantee four Democratic voices on the highest court in the land. The New Deal had supporters and detractors, but for many Americans, it brought hope to a time that might otherwise not have had any. Roosevelt’s plans put people to work. The New Deal reached across age, gender, and ethnic lines to ensure that opportunities were as fair as possible, and it worked to restore good faith in banking, labor, and protective institutions that had withered in the wake of the 1929 crash. As this era affected people on a world scale, it is important to recognize how our own families and communities were and are impacted by both the time and the programs associated with it. This was a project that was designed to be stimulating and enlightening. By 1938, the luster of the New Deal was wearing off, but opportunity was shifting across the Atlantic. Once again, there were rumbles of discontent and aggression rising from Western Europe, and the German Wehrmacht army was marching under a fascist swastika and banner. At the same time, the often-elusive Empire of Japan was making noise, gearing up to strike to ensure its own preservation. The world was again about to be at war, and the United States was no longer able to assume a policy of isolation.

References Library of Congress. (1919). Returning from World War I [Photograph]. Retrieved from

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Returning_from_World_War_I.jpg Rothstein, A. (1936). Hooverville Portland Oregon [Photograph]. Retrieved from

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Hooverville#/media/File:Hooverville_Portland_Oregon_1936.jpg Suckley, M. (1941). Roosevelt in wheelchair [Photograph]. Retrieved from