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Archive for the 'USH: The Crash, Depression & New Deal' Category

FDR’s War Against the Press

Monday, July 10th, 2017

In the 1936 election, Roosevelt claimed that 85 percent of the newspapers were against him….Roosevelt’s relationship with radio was warmer.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, revised the media rules in profound ways. Like Trump, he feuded with the mainstream media; like Trump, he used a new medium as a direct pipeline to the people. He also used the government’s machinery to suppress unfavorable coverage, a fate we hope to avoid in the age of Trump.

Joanna Andreasson

New Deal Sales Pitch

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

You have been assigned a New Deal program to “sell” to your classmates. Your task is to inform and persuade in equal measure.

Don’t neglect your duty to inform. This is school, after all. Read about your New Deal program. You can’t sell a product that you don’t know thoroughly. Knowledge breeds confidence. Teach your audience about the program.

Your pitch must be 3-4 minutes, you are free to use whatever visual tools (poster, whiteboard, PowerPoint) you want.

Audience is everything. Stay in the time period 1933-38. You are selling to a populace suffering from the Great Depression and anxieties from the rising tide of fascism in Europe. Speak to those people. What is the problem? How will this program solve it?

Consider countering claims that opponents of your program might levy. “Some fools may argue that the AAA is unconstitutional, but…” or “uninformed critics bemoan the the program does not relieve all Americans, but…”

Introductions and conclusions matter. First and last impressions are destiny.

A little stagecraft goes a long way; too much showmanship repels the audience. Have fun! Be fun! Do not be boring.

Rubric: 5 points content / 5 points persuasiveness / 5 points timing and style

Here are some models you might consider:

How to advertise considering logos, pathos, and ethos:

Don Draper’s Mark Your Man Pitch:

Don Draper’s Carousel Pitch:

FDR’s Second Bill of Rights

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

During President Roosevelt’s January 11, 1944 message to the Congress of the United States on the State of the Union, he said the following:

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.”[3] People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

NPR Fresh Air – America’s Forgotten History Of Mexican-American ‘Repatriation’

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

With a scarcity of jobs during the Depression, more than a million people of Mexican descent were sent to Mexico. Author Francisco Balderrama estimates that 60 percent were American citizens.

Summative Table: FDR’s New Deal

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

This table summarizes the New Deal programs we will address in class. It also offers some arguments for/against each program. Spend some time wrapping your head around the scope of the New Deal reforms.

Intro to the Black Chicago Renaissance

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

This is a good place to get started. It’s the intro chapter to a groundbreaking book on the BCR.

PBS Am Experience: Amelia Earhart

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Earhart disappeared in 1937 while she was attempting to circumnavigate the world by airplane.

The New New Deal

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Michael Grunwald, a Time magazine correspondent, this week publishes The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, a gripping account of President Obama’s stimulus bill. Grunwald writes that the stimulus has transformed America—and American politics—in ways that we have failed to recognize.

Read an interview with Grunwald

Artists, Writers, and the Great Depression

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Primary source video footage on TGD art and literature

Lesson Plan on Life During the Great Depression: A Diversity of Experiences

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

To some extent, the optimism of the Roaring Twenties was stymied by the financial crash of October 1929 and the economic depression that ensued. Conventional memory of the The Great Depression (TGD) paints a historically inaccurate, often whitewashed, version of life in America during  TGD. To the chagrin of historians of this era, we paint TGD in broad brushstrokes and, as a consequence, overlook the nuances and the diversity of American Experiences during TGD.

Thus, the objective of this lesson is to explore how different people from different walks of life experienced TGD. This era was complex, dynamic, and curious; it was not just Depressing.

To this end, each of you will read 1 of these 4 documents and respond to the questions given

Print your reading responses, bring them to class, and be prepared to discuss the articles.

Group #1: Wall Street Stock Broker
Group #2: American Women
Group #3: White Americans
Group #4: African Americans

If stories of life during the Depression peaks your curiosity, here are some video documentaries that explore themes of life in the TGD:

The Civilian Conservation Corps

The Crash of 1929

Hoover Dam

Hurricane of ’38

Riding the Rails


Surviving the Dust Bowl

If you are really interested in life during TGD, my favorite book on the era, and one of my favorite oral histories, is Hard Times by my hometown hero Studs Terkel