Figure 2514 As the Dust Bowl continued in the Great Plains many had to abandon

Figure 2514 as the dust bowl continued in the great

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Figure 25.14As the Dust Bowl continued in the Great Plains, many had to abandon their land and equipment, ascaptured in this image from 1936, taken in Dallas, South Dakota. (credit: United States Department of Agriculture)Experience theInteractive Dust Bowl ()tosee how decisions compounded to create peoples° destiny. Click through to see whatchoices you would make and where that would take you.Click and ExploreChapter 25 Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? The Great Depression, 1929-1932753
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MY STORYCaroline Henderson on the Dust BowlNow we are facing a fourth year of failure. There can be no wheat for us in 1935 in spite ofall our careful and expensive work in preparing ground, sowing and re-sowing our allocatedacreage. Native grass pastures are permanently damaged, in many cases hopelessly ruined,smothered under by drifted sand. Fences are buried under banks of thistles and hard packedearth or undermined by the eroding action of the wind and lying flat on the ground. Lesstraveled roads are impassable, covered deep under by sand or the finer silt-like loam.Orchards, groves and hedge-rows cultivated for many years with patient care are dead ordying . . . Impossible it seems not to grieve that the work of hands should prove so perishable.³Caroline Henderson, Shelton, Oklahoma, 1935Much like other farm families whose livelihoods were destroyed by the Dust Bowl, Caroline Hendersondescribes a level of hardship that many Americans living in Depression-ravaged cities could neverunderstand. Despite their hard work, millions of Americans were losing both their produce and theirhomes, sometimes in as little as forty-eight hours, to environmental catastrophes. Lacking any otherexplanation, many began to question what they had done to incur God°s wrath. Note in particularHenderson°s references to ±dead,² ±dying,² and ±perishable,² and contrast those terms with her depictionof the ±careful and expensive work² undertaken by their own hands. Many simply could not understandhow such a catastrophe could have occurred.CHANGING VALUES, CHANGING CULTUREIn the decades before the Great Depression, and particularly in the 1920s, American culture largelyreflected the values of individualism, self-reliance, and material success through competition. Novels likeF. Scott Fitzgerald²sThe Great Gatsbyand Sinclair Lewis²sBabbitportrayed wealth and the self-made manin America, albeit in a critical fashion. In film, many silent movies, such as Charlie Chaplin²sThe Gold Rush,depicted the rags-to-riches fable that Americans so loved. With the shift in U.S. fortunes, however, camea shift in values, and with it, a new cultural reflection. The arts revealed a new emphasis on the welfareof the whole and the importance of community in preserving family life. While box office sales brieflydeclined at the beginning of the Depression, they quickly rebounded. Movies offered a way for Americans
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