The Great Depression and New Deal Links:

Margaret Bourke-White, "The American Dream"

Thomas Hart Benton, "Hooverville" (1939)

Theodor Horydczak, "Veterans Bonus March" (1932)

New Deal 3 R's Chart

A New Deal for the Arts (from the National Archives)

Win the War cartoon





The Great Depression and New Deal

My thesis: The Great Depression plunged the American economy into its greatest crisis in more than a generation.  The inability of business and government leaders to cope with crisis led to a general loss of confidence among many Americans.  The optimism of the 1920s associated with the thriving new consumer culture turned to many into deep despair.  Many Americans called for bold, new leadership and radical reform.

  1. The Coming of the Great Depression
    1. The Great Crash of 1929
    2. Causes of the Depression
      1. Poor Economic Diversity
      2. Uneven Distribution of Wealth
      3. Little Regulation of the Economy
    3. The Human Toll
      1. Business Failure
      2. Unemployment
      3. "Hoovervilles"
    4. Initial Response by Herbert Hoover
      1. Insistence situation temporary - "Prosperity was just around the corner"
      2. Urged self-help and local effort
      3. Little government intervention
      4. tax cuts
      5. Hawley-Smoot tariff
      6. Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC)
    5. Mounting Discontent and Protest
      • Bonus Marchers (1924)
  2. The New Deal
    1. The Election of Franklin D. Roosevelt
      1. The "Brains Trust"
      2. The Hundred Days
        1. Bank Holiday
        2. Direct Government Relief
    2. The "3 R's"
      1. Relief
      2. Recovery
      3. Reform
  3. Critics of the New Deal
    1. Conservatives - Too much government, too expensive, socialistic
    2. Radicals - Did not go far enough, protected the business class that caused the Depression
    3. Huey P. Long - "Share the Wealth"
    4. Frances Townsend - Pension Plan
    5. Charles Coughlin, the "Radio Priest"
    6. Communist Party (CPUSA)
  4. The End of the New Deal
    1. Supreme Court Fight
    2. "Roosevelt Recession"
    3. WWII
  5. Legacy of the New Deal
    1. Bigger Government
    2. "Safety Net"
    3. Triumph of Keynesian Economics
    4. Democratic Party becomes Dominant Party
      • Triumph of the "New Deal" coalition
    5. A Halfway Revolution?
      • Limits of the New Deal for African-Americans, Hispanics, and Women