WEEK 4: STUDY GUIDE
THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND THE NEW DEAL, 1929–1939 (4/23)
Overall theme of course:
• People (Monday classes)
o Who are “Americans?”: Immigration, mobility, race/ethnicity, gender
• Money (Wednesday classes)
o How have Americans lived?: The changing modes of production and
consumption; wealth and poverty
• Power (Friday classes)
o How have Americans governed?: The growth of federal government; rise of US
power in world
Specific topics of this week: The 1930s
• M: People: The prosperity of the 1920s was shattered by the Dust Bowl and the
Great Depression. How did various groups of Americans respond to these
• W: Money: What was Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” program for economic
relief and reform?
• F: Power: How did the “New Deal” revolution establish new roles for the national
Reading/Writing assignment for this week:
Assignment: Read LEP, Chapt. 25
Section Assignment: The Visual Arts: People on the Move
• This period saw two major migrations of PEOPLE: the “Great Migration” of
African Americans from the rural south to Northern cities, and the “Dust Bowl
migration” that brought large numbers of rural southern whites into California.
Today we will examine how the VISUAL ARTS contribute to our understanding of
migration experiences. Study the visual material on websites related to the two
o 1. Jacob Lawrence’s “The Great Migration” series. Lawrence is perhaps
America’s best-known African American artist (work recently installed in
the White House). Watch an introduction at
o Then go to the Phillips Museum website and click on “Experience”:
o 2. Dorothea Lange’s famous photos. Lange is one of America’s best-
known photographers. See her famous series on the “Dust Bowl” at
photos, commissioned by a New Deal agency, represent a style of
socially conscious documentary photography popular in the 1930s, and
you may read additional background on the Dust Bowl at
• Come to section ready to discuss the contribution that visual arts can make to an
understanding of history. Why do you think Lawrence might have painted his
series? Why do you think FDR used federal funds to hire photographers to travel
the country taking photos such as the ones of the Dust Bowl refugees?
• Short Analysis due: Focusing on the collection of Lange photos,
http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/lange/index.html, analyze the messages that you think emerge from them. How, for example, do these photos
work to mobilize sympathy for the poor and perhaps for FDRs New Deal
program? Remember: paintings and photographs do not simply “record” the past
but are composed and constructed versions of the past. Build the thesis for this
assignment around the “story” that these photos construct. [See “Analyzing
Visual Images and Primary Documents” guide on the website.]
Identifications (be able to identify each term in a sentence and then provide a few
sentences describing its SIGNIFICANCE in terms of the themes of the “overall themes of
the course,” given above.)
ID: The Great Depression was an economic crisis due to the stock market crash during
Significance: It was not only an economic crisis within the United States, but also a
global crisis; it lead the political crisis associated with WWII. Because of the depression,
the unemployment rate rose due to the decrease in demand for goods, creating
Hoovervilles and breadlines. It led to the federal government to intervene into the
economy and use mass media for politics for the first time.
ID: The Bonus Army was a group of WWI veterans who were promised a cash bonus for
their service overseas.
Significance: When the depression hit, they went to Washington D.C. to protest for their
service payment in 1932. The protests helped create the GI bill that would help WWII
veterans get back into the economy.
ID: The Bank Holiday was Roosevelt’s response to the bank runs during 1933.
Significance: Roosevelt established a bank holiday in order to close banks for a few days
to stop the bank runs. It helped in the creation of the Emergency Banking Act.
FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp)
ID: The FDIC is a United States government corporation created by the Banking Act of
Significance: The FDIC insures bank accounts by guaranteeing that the government will
cover your losses if the bank fails. It also inspects its banks to insure their soundness. It
ensured people that their money was safe.
Securities Act of 1933 and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) of 1934
ID: The Securities Act of 1933 and SEC was created by Congress to regulate the offer
and sales of securities and protect buyers.
Significance: They were the federal government’s way to ensure that buyers of securities
would receive complete and accurate information before they invest into it, preventing
fraud and deception. The SEC inspected and regulated stock exchanges. CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)
ID: The CCC was a New Deal program in which the government created public service
jobs for young men.
Significance: It was a way for the federal government to sp