Choose one of the following topics and write an essay. Some areas for you to consider including in writing your essay are provided – you are not limited to these. Post your essay as a New Thread by Thursday.
The Roaring Twenties – Life in America
Explain how the 1920s was a decade of contradictions. What does the relationship between mass immigration and the rise of the Second Ku Klux Klan tell us about American attitudes? How might we reconcile the decade as the period of both the flapper and prohibition?
What new opportunities did the 1920s provide for women and African Americans? What new limitations did this era impose?
Discuss what the concept of “modernity” meant in the 1920s. How did art and innovation in the decade reflect the new mood of the postwar era?
Explain how technology took American culture in new and different directions. What role did motion pictures and radio play in shaping cultural attitudes in the United States?
Boom to Bust
Discuss how politics of the 1920s reflected the new postwar mood of the country. What did the Harding administration’s policies attempt to achieve, and how?
What were the possible causes of the Great Depression? To what extent could a stock market crash of the intensity of 1929 occur again in America?
Why did people feel so confident before the stock market crash of 1929? What were some factors that led to irrational investing?
Why was Herbert Hoover’s response to the initial months of the Great Depression so limited in scope?
The Great Depression
Why is Herbert Hoover so often blamed for the Great Depression? To what extent is such an assessment fair or accurate?
How did the cultural products of the Great Depression serve to reflect, shape, and assuage Americans’ fears and concerns during this volatile period? How do our cultural products—such as books, movies, and music—reflect and reinforce our values in our own times?
To what extent did the Great Depression catalyze important changes in Americans’ perceptions of themselves, their national identity, and the role of their government? What evidence of these shifts can you find in the politics and values of our own times?
To what extent was Franklin Roosevelt’s overwhelming victory in the 1932 presidential election a reflection of his own ideas for change? To what extent did it represent public discontent with Herbert Hoover’s lack of answers?
The New Deal
Whom did the New Deal help the least? What hardships did these individuals continue to suffer? Why were Roosevelt’s programs unsuccessful in the alleviation of their adversities?
Was Franklin Roosevelt successful at combatting the Great Depression? How did the New Deal affect future generations of Americans?
What were the key differences between the First New Deal and the Second New Deal? On the whole, what did each New Deal set out to accomplish?
What challenges did Roosevelt face in his work on behalf of African Americans? What impact did the New Deal have ultimately on race relations?