Depression  America

Watkins, “Under Hoover, the Shame and Misery Deepened”

In general, how does Watkins interpret the course of the depression and Hoover’s role?

Could Hoover have solved the depression?

How do you think the author felt about Hoover?  Why is this important to consider?

What was Hoover’s initial view and response to the depression?         

Why didn’t most people think that stock market crash so bad?

What signs existed the indicated that depression was very severe?

What personal / societal values and beliefs shaped Hoover’s response?

Why did Hoover believe federal gov’t should not act too much?  Who or what should handle the brunt of the problems and why?

Why weren’t local efforts able to solve the problems?

What was the psychological impact of the depression and why might that have been more important than the economic impact?


President Hoover Applauds Limited Government, 1931

How does Hoover feel about the role of the federal gov’t and why does he feel this way?

What is his philosophy about the purpose of gov’t?

How does he explain the depression?

How will the nation overcome or defeat the depression?


The Beuschers Remember the Great Depression

Why and how might you use this document in the classroom?

Why is the background and experiences of the Beuschers before the depression important?

How did the family get by financially early on?

How did the Beuschers feel about relief and work programs?

How did the depression change the family’s outlook?

How do you think they felt about FDR’s New Deal?


After the Fact: A Dust Bowl Odyssey

Why is Steinbeck’s novel the Grapes of Wrath so significant?

Why must we be wary of his picture of 1930s depression America?

Would you use such historical novels in your class?  If so, how would you use it?

Why must we also question Lange’s dust bowl pictures as representative of depression America?

What examples do the authors offer to question the accuracy of Steinbeck’s Joad family?

How can the census help us understand this migration?  What does it tell us?

What explains this earlier migration if not the Dust Bowl?

How did the New Deal contribute to 30s migration?

Why should we question the rural character of the Joad family as representative of the collective migration?

How else did Steinbeck’s portrait of rural CA in 1930s not mirror reality?