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The Great Depression and The New Deal
Defining Moments: The Great Depression and The New Deal examines a period in American history of unparalleled hardship and misery that was, until quite recently, viewed as a one-time historical event that would not likely happen again. Many do not feel the same way anymore, due to our current troubled economic times. There are similarities between the Great Depression and the “Great Recession” of our own times: both were preceded by times of enthusiastic optimism and unbridled prosperity—making the fall that much harder when the “crash” came. This volume first looks at the period of the Roaring Twenties, in which the appetite for the consumption of goods and for the good life was a primary focus of many. It also looks at the warning signs which went largely unheeded: farmers teetered on the brink of disaster after heavily leveraging their farms; banks foreclosed on farms and many other businesses that could not survive an oversupplied goods market; and banks themselves were starting to feel the adverse effects of an unregulated system and increasingly speculative investments. Next, the Crash of 1929 is studied, along with the Hoover administration’s difficulties in understanding the far-reaching effects of what was occurring right in front of its eyes. The election of Roosevelt and his New Deal are examined, as well as the Dust Bowl, the Second New Deal, and finally, a new era of economic prosperity begun by World War II. In addition, the legacy of the Great Depression and the New Deal are studied, including looking at political and social questions of what the effects of New Deal programs left in their wake. This volume also includes numerous biographies of individuals who were noteworthy during the era (including Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover), and primary sources (including Franklin Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address) which illuminate what the participants in the events were thinking—as they were living through them.
About the Author
Kevin Hillstrom is an independent scholar and author who has written extensively about American history, politics, and environmental issues. He is the author, most recently, of U.S. Environmental Politics and Policy: A Documentary History.
7-¼ x 9-¼; 238 pages, illustrated
Series: Defining Moments
March 2012: $19.95