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Sept 27 - Document Discussion - Archives 18

Sept 27 - Document Discussion - Archives 18 - >ARCH1VE 1 8<...

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->ARCH1VE 18<- Rural America During the New Deal Archive Overview THE Great Depression and memories of people's experiences during that difficult decade have influenced American life in many ways long after the depression ended. Perhaps the influ - ence seems small-a grandfather who always turns out unnec- essary lights in his house or an older relative's careful use ofleft- overs. The debates over the role the federal government should play in helping those in want or in intervening in the national economy nave also continued. For your participation in this im - portant contemporary discussion, a careful consideration of some New Deal programs will be most helpful. This archive has a particular focus: the difficulties of rural life during the Great Depression of the 1930S and the New Deal programs that were designed to assist farmers. Like other New Deal measures, those that attempted to aid the nation's farmers caused controversy. Evaluations of the impact of farm policies usually started with two questions: Are these programs really It helping farmers? and Do these programs violate cherished prin- ciples of American life (self-sufficiency, individualism, and local autonomy)? As you examine the materials, you should consider the different viewpoints and interests expressed in the sources and then go on to develop your own interpretation of the value and the consequences of New Deal agricultural policies. As you read the sources, consider these important questions: What were the problems that afflicted the American countryside? What was the scope of the New Deal response, and how well did it address the basic issues of rural life and the needs of different groups of farmers? What were the intended and unintended consequences of New Deal programs? Would you rate the pro - grams successful, partially successful, or a failure? If you decide that the programs enjoyed some success in helping farmers, con - sider whether they contributed to ending the depression itself As you work out your analysis, you will be joining many others who have argued about the importance of the New Deal ever since it first took shape. Nearly all historians agree that, for bet - ter or worse, the New Deal fundamentally affected American public policy for the rest of the 20th century. At the beginning of the 21st century, as the family farm disappears and many farmers again suffer from natural and man-made disasters, variations of these questions continue to be debated in this country. Placing the Sources in Context IN our highly urbanized age at the start of the 21st century, it is easy to forget that nearly half of the American population lived in rural areas in the first decades of the 20th century. Although the profitability of farming differed according to where farmers T1MELINE 1921 Farm prices decline 1929 Gross farm income at $ 11.9 billion; stock market crash 1930 Banks start to fail, many of them rural banks; Hawley-Smoot Tariff raises import duties; drought begins 1932 Dust storms ravage the Great Plains; gross farm income at $ 5.3 billion 1933
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