The Great Depression

"And in the eyes of the people . . .

...there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”

― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

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The Great Depression

— from the series America in the 20th Century

Closely studying the events of the 1930s is like peering through a window into the past, allowing us to understand not only the challenges faced by our ancestors but also the enduring lessons that shape our future.

Participants from this era, still living, share vivid memories from the Crash of 1929 through World War II—an influential history that shapes our perspectives today. Understanding this shared past is essential for grasping the interplay of modern challenges with historical context, fostering political intelligence crucial for discussions on governance, foreign policy, values, and equal rights.

The Great Depression and the New Deal demand scrutiny for four key reasons: overcoming the most profound economic crisis in U.S. history, shifting attitudes toward government responsibilities, advancing labor rights, and reforming American capitalism. The Great Depression, a defining chapter in American history, enhanced federal regulatory powers, leading to a mild welfare state capitalism similar to European counterparts. This period offers students an opportunity to assess Franklin Roosevelt's leadership, explore ways to resolve the Depression, and evaluate the New Deal's impact on various societal groups.

The Great Depression

Video Chapters

The Great Depression is the fourth volume in the award-winning video series America in the 20th Century. It explores the causes and consequences of the economic downturn that accelerated in late 1929. The program also examines the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal programs enacted to revitalize the economy during the 1930s.

The Great Depression is presented in four video chapters. Preview them here or log in to the members-only Streaming Room™ to access the complete videos. Not a member? It's easy to subscribe now.

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