Unit III: Boom to Bust

Essential Question: How did the excesses of the Roaring Twenties lead to the Great Depression?

World War I not only changed the United States policies and attitudes in foreign matters (as well as ways in which we engage in a war), but it also changed the culture and economy of the United States.    
As we study the Stock Market Crash and subsequent Depression, we focus on the following:
  • Identify and explain the significance of the cultural changes and tensions in the “Roaring Twenties” including the cultural movements like Harlem Renaissance, “lost generation”, Scopes Trial, immigration restrictions, Prohibition, role of women, mass consumption;
  • Explain and evaluate the multiple causes and consequences of the Great Depression by analyzing the political, economic, environmental, and social causes of the Great Depression including the fiscal policy (overproduction, under consumption, and speculation), the 1929 crash and the Dust Bowl, the economic and social toll of the Great Depression including unemployment and environmental conditions that affect farms, industrial workers and families, Hoover’s policies and their impact (e.g. Reconstruction Finance Corporation).  

Essential Question: How did the New Deal deal with the Causes of the Great Depression?

The crippling effects of the Great Depression had worldwide effects.  The laissez-faire policies of Coolidge and Hoover were not working, and people were losing faith in the government. This was shown in 1932 when Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was elected president.  Unlike President Hoover’s limited use of government, FDR’s New Deal policies used government resources to attack the economic crisis.  Goal of the New Deal include the following:
To restore the industrial and agricultural economy
To provide extensive work relief for the unemployed
To extend government protection of the consumers with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission 
To protect the elderly and the disabled with the Social Security Act, which also enabled states to make provisions for the administration of their state unemployment laws

However, the New Deal was not without its critics from Congress to the Supreme Court and we will examine why the New Deal was criticized.  While the New Deal did not end the Great Depression, it did provide necessary relief.  Moreover, it raised the expectations about the role of government in regulating the economy and providing help to those in need.