The Great Depression began on October 1929 and became the worst economic crisis in US history. This economic crisis caused widespread poverty, record-breaking levels of unemployment, and uncertainty about the future. The Great Depression ushered in an era of fear and uncertainty into a formerly prosperous United States. Many credit President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs for the United States’ escape from their economic sinkhole. But, after years of New Deal programs designed to curb the federal debt, the United State’s economic situation was still as grim as the decade before. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office, making his number one priority the rehabilitation of the United States’ economy. Over the course of the next few years, FDR and the federal government instituted a multitude of government-sponsored programs all with the aim of restoring the American dream. While the New Deal looks to have been a prosperous and successful time, was it prosperous and successful to all? To better understand the New Deal, it must be investigated from all sides. Was it equal to both genders Equal to minorities? Equal to all socio-economic statues’? And was it as wildly accepted and celebrated, as it seems to be today? You will be exploring and deconstructing the New Deal through this site and the materials that is included within it. When you are done, you should be able to explain and deconstruct the New Deal, from multiple perspectives.
The first resource you can explore are Editorial Cartoons. These politically motivated cartoons depict the darker side of the New Deal. They portray a side of the American public during the New Deal that saw it as a savage and money-hungry government imposition as opposed to a positive and life-changing establishment. These cartoons serve as a visual representation of the New Deals’ opposition. They show the harsh reality that a multitude of Americans experienced due to the policies enacted by the New Deal.
While the editorial cartoons often appear as a more lighthearted jab at the New Deal, the written accounts from Americans at this time packs a solid punch. These people openly and honestly state their dislike and distrust of FDR and the New Deal, and shed a brand new light onto the subject at hand. These sources are excellent examples of multiple perspectives on a common (and often misunderstood) issue.
Like all good things, pictures are said to be worth a thousand words. These photographs of men and women in direct protest to the New Deal speak worlds on the question of “was the New Deal fair and right for all.” Media has the power to sway opinions, it is powerful and direct, and nothing stirs emotions more than a well-positioned and powerful photograph. Photographs are small moments in time that can leave a deep seeded impression. Consider this idea as you further explore the website and gather information, leading you to understand the matter at hand from more that one lens.
Through analyzing and deconstructing the information from each tab, students will have the chance to unlock the mystery behind the New Deal by either creating a Venn-Diagram that compares and contrasts what you learned from the evidence on this site with what you are told in your textbook, or by embodying the mind of a middle class American citizen during the New Deal and writing an essay describing whether you believe that the New Deal was a positive or negative for America and the American people.