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The Great Depression The Crash > Economy Compared to Television, 1929 The Crash > “It’s so nice to have Daddy home all the time now,” Life , 1930 Unemployment > Deportation of Mexicans, 1931 Unemployment > Jobs Listed by Race, 1939 Poverty > Hooverville, 1933 Hoover > “We can do it!” 1931

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the new deal historiographic debates
The New Deal > Historiographic Debates
  • 1952, Herbert Hoover
    • New Deal failed because it “attempted to collectivize the American system of life.”
  • 1940s-1960s, “liberal consensus” historians
    • New Deal was a “pragmatic” revolution that expanded the role of the federal government in American life.
  • mid-1960s, “New Left” historians
    • New Deal was fundamentally conservative, it could but failed to redistribute power in American society; it protected American capitalism.
  • 1970s-2000s, contemporary historians
    • New Deal could not have done more than it did, because of conservative Congress, the lack of adequate government bureaucracy, and localist and antistatist political culture.
the new deal stages
The New Deal > Stages
  • 1932 - FDR elected
    • First New Deal (“the hundred days”)
  • 1934 - Strike wave
  • 1934 - Leftist Democrats win the majority in congressional elections
    • Second New Deal (“the second hundred days”)
  • 1935 - Supreme Court unanimously declares NRA unconstitutional
  • 1936 - FDR reelected in a landslide
  • 1937 - Court-packing
    • FDR proposes but fails to implement unpopular Supreme Court reform
  • 1938 - Republicans and conservative Democrats regain seats in the House
    • As a reform movement, New Deal is over
new deal song from thanks a million 1935
New Deal > Song from Thanks a Million, 1935

They started up the NRA to keep the big bad wolf away

Then FDR began to be a headache to the GOP

Now that codes are everywhere we’ve got initials in our hair

The farmer’s IOU is O.K. since Congress formed the AAA

The CCC chops down a tree and sells it pronto FOB …

The RFC and NHA led millions to the AAA

The AAA has crops it cuts and all of us are going nuts!


NRA - National Recovery Administration

AAA - Agricultural Adjustment Administration

CCC - Civilian Conservation Corps

RFC - Reconstruction Finance Corporation

NHA - National Housing Authority

FDR - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

GOP - Grand Old Party

FOB - Freight on Board

1936 elections literary digest and gallup polls
1936 Elections > Literary Digest and Gallup polls

Literary Digest Final Poll

Landon 57%

Roosevelt 43

States for Landon 32

States for FDR 16

A.I.P.O. (Gallup) Final Poll

Roosevelt 55.7%

Landon 44.3

States for FDR 40

States for Landon 6

On the line 2

Election Results

Roosevelt 61%

Landon 49%

States for FDR 46

States for Landon 2

January 1936 Gallup Poll

By Income

Roosevelt Landon

Upper third 41% 59%

Lower third 70 30

Reliefers 82 18

October 1936 Gallup Poll


Roosevelt 52.6%

Landon 42.1%


Roosevelt 51.4%

Landon 44.8%

Young People (21–24 Years)

Roosevelt 57.4%

Landon 38.4%


Roosevelt 78.8%

Landon 14.0%

Labor > UAW organizers Walter Reuther and Richard Frankensteen pose for press photographers, River Rouge Plant, May 26, 1937
court packing schecter poultry corp v united states 1935
Court Packing > Schecter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 1935
  • A small company - small firms objected the most to limits on hours and wages
  • Charles Evans Hughes for the majority: “Extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional power.”
    • Congress cannot relegate power to the executive branch, even in an emergency
    • NRA infringes on “freedom of contract,” through industrial price and wage codes
fdr s critics huey long and father charles coughlin
FDR’s Critics > Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin
  • Populist critics of President Roosevelt
    • Long - Louisiana Governor and U.S. Senator; the rich should “share wealth”
    • Coughlin - Catholic priest,
  • Both used radio effectively
    • Long - the rich should “share wealth” (as Kingfish from Amos’n’Andy show)
    • Coughlin - sermons, attacked “money changers,” but also socialists
  • Both had large following in the early 1930s
    • Long - 8 million members of Share Our Wealth Clubs
    • Coughlin - 40 million listeners in 1930
  • At first support FDR, then disillusioned
    • Long - till 1933 as U.S. Senator (Democrat)
    • Coughlin - till 1935 through sermons on the radio
  • Long shot in 1935, used for the main character in Robert Penn Warren’s novel All the King’s Men
  • Coughlin turned anti-semitic and conservative after FDR’s reelection in 1936, ordered by his bishop to cease all political activity in 1940
migration john steinbeck the grapes of wrath
Migration > John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
  • Novel published in 1939
  • Film in 1940 (closely follows the novel)
  • Reinforced the belief that migrants fled the dust storms
  • In fact, they fled for varied reasons, including drought, falling agricultural prices, and mechanization of agriculture
  • 16,000 farmers fled dust storms
  • 400,000 migrated, from a larger area in the Southwest
  • Famous scene: farmer confronts a man who is about to level his house, used the plight of farmers to convey a sense of unfocused outrage shared by many others during the Depression - people couldn’t figure out who was to blame for the disaster
politics and movies screwball comedies
Politics and Movies > Screwball comedies

My Man Godfrey, 1936

Frank Capra, Meet John Doe, 1941

popular front artists who were affiliated with the movement
Popular Front > Artists who were affiliated with the movement

Frank Capra

Charlie Chaplin

Orson Welles

Duke Ellington

Dorothea Lange

John Steinbeck


Disney Strike > “Walt Disney as the men who work for him see him. They portray him as unhappy because the strike is successful.” PM (1941)

Disney Strike > “Under the mask of the American Society of Screen Cartoonists, strikers claim is a company union,” PM (1941)
Disney Strike > “How a guy feels the first time he pickets. Most strikers were never union members before.” PM (1941)

Disney Strike > “The striking screen cartoon guild follows the difficult road of union organization, leaving alleged company union behind.” PM (1941)


Disney Strike > “Here is the artist’s version of an ideal picket. The Disney workers make the ideal striker; there are mighty few labor disputes in which just about every striker can make his own picket sign.” PM (1941)

Disney Strike > Life of an animator, as the public imagines it and in reality, without union protection. PM (1941)

Disney Strike > “It’s OK for the seven dwarfs to whistle while they work, but not the girls who work for Disney. Discipline is strict. PM (1941)