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The Great Depression: Experience the 1930s from the Dust Bowl to the New Deal

The Great Depression: Experience the 1930s from the Dust Bowl to the New Deal

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The Great Depression: Experience the 1930s from the Dust Bowl to the New Deal

202 pages
5 heures
Feb 22, 2016


In The Great Depression: Experience the 1930s From the Dust Bowl to the New Deal, readers ages 12 to 15 investigate the causes, duration, and outcome of the Great Depression, the period of time when more than 20 percent of Americans were unemployed. They discover how people coped, what new inventions came about, and how the economics of the country affected the arts, sciences, and politics of the times. The decade saw the inauguration of many social programs that Americans still benefit from today. The combination of President Roosevelt's New Deal and the dawning of World War II gave enough economic stimulus to boost the United States out of its slump and into a new era of recovery.

In The Great Depression, students explore what it meant to live during this time. Projects such as designing a 1930s outfit and creating a journal from the point of view of a kid whose family is on the road help infuse the content with realism and practicality. In-depth investigations of primary sources from the period allow readers to engage in further, independent study of the times. Additional materials include a glossary, a list of current reference works, and Internet resources.

Feb 22, 2016

À propos de l'auteur

Marcia Amidon Lusted has written 130 books and more than 500 magazine articles for young readers. She is a freelance editor and writing instructor, as well as a musician. She lives in New Hampshire.

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Aperçu du livre

The Great Depression - Marcia Amidon Lusted

Nomad Press

A division of Nomad Communications

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Copyright © 2016 by Nomad Press. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review or for limited educational use. The trademark Nomad Press and the Nomad Press logo are trademarks of Nomad Communications, Inc.

Illustrations by Tom Casteel

Educational Consultant, Marla Conn

Questions regarding the ordering of this book should be addressed to

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Social studies titles in the Inquire and Investigate series

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You can use a smartphone or tablet app to scan the QR codes and explore more about the Great Depression! Cover up neighboring QR codes to make sure you’re scanning the right one. You can find a list of each URL on the Resources page.




A Turbulent Time

Chapter 1

Boom to Bust

Chapter 2

Not a Job in Sight

Chapter 3

A New Deal

Chapter 4

A Dusty Disaster

Chapter 5

Quintuplets, Gangsters, and Monopoly

Chapter 6

Inventing the World of Tomorrow

Chapter 7

War and Recovery




A Turbulent Time

Why were the 1930s a difficult decade for many people?

Many things happened during the 1930s that created hardship for lots of people. These included a huge economic depression, an environmental crisis, and a war brewing in Europe. But there were good things that happened as well.

The 1930s is a decade with many nicknames, such as The Dirty Thirties, The Turbulent Thirties, or The Starving Thirties. When referring to the 1930s, historians often talk about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The decade of the 1930s was a time of great hardship for many. It was also a time of amazing inventions. The 1930s saw the birth of government programs that we still use today, such as Social Security and insured bank deposits. What makes the 1930s so different from all the other decades?


In 1929, America was still embracing the roaring twenties, which was a decade of affluence for many people. Life changed dramatically in the 1920s. There was more money to spend and more to spend it on. People found new roles to enjoy and focused more on leisure time and having fun.

Primary Sources

Primary sources come from people who were eyewitnesses to events. They might write about the event, take pictures, post short messages to social media or blogs, or record the event for radio or video. Why are primary sources important? Do you learn differently from primary sources than from secondary sources, which come from people who did not directly experience the event?

It seemed as though many Americans were enjoying a party that would never end, even though some people, such as farmers and minorities, never really shared in the general prosperity of the times. The party did end, though, with the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that ushered in a period of hard times. The economy did not fully recover from the Great Depression until World War II. It affected an entire generation of people.

An economic depression is an extreme recession that lasts two years or more.

This is a period of time when personal income, prices, and profits all drop. It is characterized by increased unemployment, less available credit, and reduced trading and commerce. If a depression lasts for too long, consumers lose confidence and stop investing. Did your family or someone you know experience any effects from the most recent recession, which began in 2007? Are you, or they, still feeling those effects?

Later in 1929, Americans suddenly found themselves losing their jobs and having their homes foreclosed on. Many people lost the money in their savings accounts. Between 1930 and 1933, 9,000 banks failed. Imagine going to the bank to withdraw money and finding it closed forever. This happened to many people.

Today, we talk about 8 percent unemployment being unacceptably high, but the early 1930s saw 25 percent unemployment. One quarter of the American work force was unemployed.

Before 1933, there were no federal government programs in place to help people who lost their jobs. Today, unemployment insurance helps people take care of themselves until they can find another job. Without money to spend, unemployed consumers no longer shopped. Business after business closed, and people whose livelihoods depended on manufacturing or selling goods lost their jobs as well.

It was also a decade of severe natural disasters. The Great Plains states, including Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, suffered through one of the worst droughts ever recorded.

The dry conditions spawned huge dust storms, blowing loose topsoil in black blizzards of dust and dirt.

It was impossible to grow crops in these conditions. Millions of farmers and agricultural workers were forced to leave their farms and homes. Many traveled to places such as California in search of work.


The Stock Market Crash of 1929 came as a surprise to many people. Many investors lost a lot of their money in one week. Read a newspaper article written during the week of the crash. Did people realize how bad the situation was?

New York Times stock market crash

Stratford, Texas, 1935

photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce

At first, the government did little that helped. It wasn’t until President Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932 that the government began to put policies and programs into place that were designed to help the economy. These programs also began to help people who had no way to earn money or feed

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