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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 34
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Describe the impact of Roosevelt and the New Deal on deeply depressed ordinary Americans, perhaps focusing on how Roosevelt revived spirits and restored faith in the system, even for those who did not agree with all his programs. Include the experiences of ordinary men and women in the 1930s.

    REFERENCES: Studs Terkel, Hard Times (1970); Ann Banks, First Person America.

  • Examine the goals and activities of the major New Deal programs. The "relief-recovery-reform" distinction (pp. 781 and 784) is useful for sorting out the alphabet agencies, as is the distinction between the early NRA-AAA approach and the later TVA-Social Security-Wagner Act reforms. A unifying theme for the whole New Deal is the search to provide greater "security" against the storms and uncertainties of unregulated capitalism.

    REFERENCE: David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear (1999).

  • Explain the various challenges to Roosevelt from both the popular demagogues and the conservatives. Show how he skillfully "stole the thunder" from the former and used the latter as political whipping boys.

    REFERENCE: Alan Brinkley, Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression (1982).

  • Consider the experience of women in the Depression and in the making of the New Deal. Look at both ordinary women in urban and rural areas, as well as more prominent reformers and government figures.

    REFERENCES: Lois Scharf, To Work and to Wed: Female Employment, Feminism, and the Great Depression (1980); Susan Ware, Beyond Suffrage: Women in the New Deal (1981).



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