Mr. Roosevelt Comes to Champaign County: An Examination of the New Deal Fellowship Lesson 2009 Marshall Schacht (St. Joseph-Ogden High School) Champaign County Historical Archives Abstract



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Mr. Roosevelt Comes to Champaign County: An Examination of the New Deal

Fellowship Lesson 2009 Marshall Schacht (St. Joseph-Ogden High School) Champaign County Historical Archives

Abstract: This unit will consider the background of the New Deal from a national perspective and focus upon the practical applications of its programs in Central Illinois. Resources in this unit include newspaper articles, photographs and editorials from the Urbana Courier, The Daily Illini and The News Gazette as well as period political cartoons. Also included are photographs of various sites that still stand today as a testimony to the legacy of the New Deal.

Assessment: Students will create several short essays describing the New Deal programs by drawing inferences from a variety of primary sources from the depression era.

Essential Questions:

  • Why did America as a whole accept FDR’s vision for a new direction for America?

  • What problems did the New Deal seek to address?

  • What New Deal programs had an impact on life in Champaign County during the depression?

  • What types of jobs did people in Champaign County do for the Works Progress Administration?

  • How were projects proposed, approved and executed?

  • How did the public criticize FDR’s programs?

  • What lasting impression did the WPA and other programs have on Central Illinois?

  • How does FDR’s New Deal compare to Obama’s national recovery plans today?

Setting the Purpose: Students will appreciate the relevance of this unit to what is happening around them right now. Concerns about rising unemployment and the ever growing-federal deficit and debt will create fertile ground for heart-felt reactions to many of these questions. Many students fear the role of a larger, socialistic government with numerous programs and a budget beyond belief, while others fear the consequences of having no safety-net to catch us if we fall. While times may appear desperate today, it will interest students to consider how lives were impacted by government programs of the past. If Champaign County and the country as a whole can “endure as it has endured”, then there is always hope. But, why did the country turn to FDR in the first place?

Lesson 1: Election of 1932

After learning about the causes of the stock market crash and life during the early depression, students will consider the political choice before them. We will review Herbert Hoover’s reaction to the depression and the subsequent backlash by the public (Hoovervilles, The Bonus Army). Students will have read a brief biographical sketch of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover to prepare for the simulation.

Students will be given a brief description of three party choices:

Party 1: In power since the end of WWI pledging to begin a new era of prosperity, democracy, freedom and peace. “Return to Normalcy”. Several years of depression and joblessness have hurt the party’s popularity and legitimacy.

Party 2: Pledges to return the power to the common working man by overthrowing the current system and establishing a communist government. ”Capitalism is the true enemy of man”—Karl Marx

Party 3: Many new ideas for getting the country moving toward greatness again. Progress through order. Supported by youth and frustrated public. “Extreme situations demand extreme measures.”

Students will be given the opportunity to lobby for the party of their choice for 5 minutes. Single, anonymous vote taken on simple ballot (heads down…hands raised works as well). Students will invariably choose Party 3 given the limitations of #1 (more of the same) and #2 (Red Scare).

However, the students will not know that they have just elected Adolf Hitler to be Chancellor of Germany as leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

The remainder of the lesson will be drawing conclusions comparing the politics of Germany in the 1930s with the political climate in the United States in 1932. Students will consider the following questions:

--Why would the German public be frustrated with the Weimar Republic (Social Democratic Party)? --How does this compare with the public’s ire directed at Hoover and the Republicans? --Why would many people in both countries consider communism as a real alternative? --Why would the public see Hitler and FDR differently?

As homework, students will read oral histories about Hitler and FDR. (From The American Century: Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster). Students will write a short reaction essay comparing and contrasting the views of citizens in the 1930s about their respective leaders.

Today’s Relevance: Students are invited to discuss Barack Obama’s election, message and popularity.

Enrichment: Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939 by Wolfgang Schivelbusch. (See review article by David Boaz from Reason Magazine Oct 2007)



Lesson 2 Let’s Make a Deal

Day 1: Now that the students have a concept of why FDR was chosen and how the public perceived him, students will work collectively to design a “New Deal”.

See “Let’s Make a Deal” Worksheet



Immediate Economic Problems RELIEF Programs

Intermediate Economic Weaknesses RECOVERY Programs

Long Term Economic Concerns REFORM Programs

Students will also be asked about how the programs will be funded. This is a good time to introduce the concept of deficit spending and the current debate regarding the fiscal (ir-)responsibility of local, state and national governments.

Students begin by brainstorming in small groups to develop lists of problems facing FDR as he entered the White House. They will consider problems on a national, state and local level.

Once the problems are assessed, student groups will come up with immediate responses to urgent crises and long term solutions to address the causes.



Lesson 2, continued Let’s Make a Deal, part II

Day 2: Students will share their ideas with the class and debate the merits of each program. As the class’s “New Deal” takes shape, it is recorded for comparison to FDR’s measures.

See “Let’s Make a Deal” Worksheet (page 2) –Venn Diagram allowing for visual comparisons between our classroom New Deal and FDR’s plan.

Enrichment: Students can actually read the relevant section of the National Industrial Recovery Act of June 16, 1933. While a challenging read, it does give the students a perspective of the entirety of FDR’s focus and how legislation would reflect his intentions.

http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=66&page=transcript (entire document)

Title II: Public Works and Construction Projects (section specific to this unit)

For homework, students will do background reading about the New Deal and the legacy that lives regarding local projects.

(More in depth) “Initial Relief” from Champaign-Urbana News Gazette February 16, 1989 (Part I, Part II)

(Direct and to the point) “FDR’s Legacy endures in local sites” from Champaign-Urbana News Gazette May 2, 1997 (Part I, Part II)

Students will write a short essay including the following:


  • What were three New Deal programs that conducted projects in Champaign County?

  • What were some of the projects that were completed that are standing today?

  • How do those workers recall the experience working for the WPA and others?


Lesson 3 The Buildings of the PWA

In this lesson students will examine several buildings that stand as lasting and functional symbols of the contributions of the New Deal (specifically the Public Works Administration) to life in Champaign-Urbana. One purpose of this lesson is to demonstrate the fact that history is alive around them. The buildings in focus in this lesson are Leal Elementary School, Champaign Central (formerly Junior) High School, Champaign City Building, Champaign National Guard Armory and the Illini Union.

Students will follow along a pictorial essay of the buildings: “PWA Buildings” (powerpoint)

As students examine the pictures of these PWA projects they will be asked to describe noticeable features of the exteriors of each building (color, brickwork, style, symbols, etc.)

See : The Buildings of the PWA Worksheet

Students will also consider the importance of each individual project.



  • Why would the PWA complete the project?

  • What impact would the project have on the community?

After they visit each of the sites they will be asked to point out similarities across the sites. Also, for what reasons would we see noticeable differences.

At the end of the lesson, students will be asked to consider the following questions:



  • Why is it important to study these (and others) historical buildings?

  • What types of protection should they be given?

  • What type of building should be given special consideration for protection and preservation?

  • Is this worth the time, effort and funding given the other needs of government’s attention?

  • What other methods could be undertaken to preserve landmarks?

  • What buildings or landmarks in your community are deserving of protection?

Resources used in this lesson (photos taken by Marshall Schacht during the Summer of 2009):

  • Photos of Leal Elementary School (Urbana)

  • Photos of Champaign City Building

  • Photos of Champaign (Junior) High School

  • Photos of Champaign National Guard Armory

  • Photos of Illini Union

Lesson 4 The New Deal in Action

Note: This lesson involving period newspaper articles can be done as separate lessons over the course of several days or as a single lesson where focus groups create presentations to the class as a whole explaining the role, function, impact and significance of each specific agency.

Now that the students have an understanding of the concept of the New Deal and the names of several employment programs, students will consider the impact of specific programs on life in Central Illinois.

The following government agencies will be the focus of this lesson:


  • IERC—Illinois Emergency Relief Commission (Lesson 4.1)

  • WPA—Works Progress Administration

    • Urban (Lesson 4.2)

    • Rural (Lesson 4.3)

  • CCC—Civilian Conservation Corps (Lesson 4.4)

  • REA—Rural Electrification Administration (Lesson 4.5)

Students will read a collection of newspaper articles that help to define the function of the government agency and the manner in which programs were implemented. The students will discuss the content of each article following the provided prompts.

Upon completion of the lesson, students will have a deeper understanding of the role of government in the lives of those living in Champaign County.

To assess their learning, students will write a short summary essay containing the role, function, impact and significance of one of the referenced agencies.

Lesson 4.1 Illinois Emergency Relief Commission (IERC)

“Parasites on Relief” Daily Illini, Editorial: Sept. 21, 1934 (pg. 4)



  • What is the question that the author of this editorial is seeking to address?

  • What did the survey conducted for the president’s committee on economic security find?

  • What attitudes does the author harbor for those that receive financial relief?

  • How do these compare with your own?

  • How does this type of public opinion put FDR in a difficult situation?

  • What advice would you have for him?

  • Do you believe that “relief work” was highly paid?

  • What future threats does the author relay in the second to last paragraph?

  • Have you heard or seen similar criticisms of liberal government action by the Obama administration? Are these criticisms justified?

“Make Second Cut in IERC Relief Funds” Urbana Daily Courier: Nov 14, 1935 (pg. 1)

  • The state office of the Illinois Emergency Relief Commission controls the budget for all counties. They in turn await federal funds from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, headed by Harry Hopkins.

  • For what reasons would relief funds for the unemployed be decreasing?

  • What did the county relief committee suggest to reduce relief expenses?

  • What does it mean that “the relief load is being absorbed by the WPA”?

  • If “no relief is issued”, what would that mean for recipients and their dependents? Where could they go for help?

  • What agencies do we have in place today to help provide relief for those in need?

“Drastic Cuts in Relief Due Says Miss Gugenheim” Urbana Daily Courier: Dec. 5, 1935 (p. 3)



  • What will happen to men who are assigned to or working on WPA jobs?

  • Do you approve of this decision? Why or why not?

  • The article states that 338 relief cases were closed during November. Why did these people no longer receive relief funds?

  • In what way would relief clients and their families be affected by receiving neither relief nor paychecks for a week?

  • How many relief clients were employed in Champaign County by the WPA during December of 1935?

  • Do you think that the workers themselves were happy to be working for pay rather than receiving relief from the IERC?

  • What might be the emotional impact of being dependent upon receiving relief money (welfare checks) to provide for your family? Ties to the film “The Cinderella Man”?

“IERC Violating Pact, Pogue Says” Urbana Daily Courier: Dec. 6, 1935 (Part I, Part II)

  • What problems does this article indicate regarding the relationship between two agencies: The WPA (Works Progress Administration) and the IERC (Illinois Emergency Relief Commission)?

  • Who is Miss Francis Gugenheim? What is her position in this disagreement?

  • Who are Fred Lohmann and Harold Pogue? What is their position in this disagreement?

  • With which party do you agree? Why?

  • According to Mr. Pogue, what must WPA workers do to adjust to the situation?

  • Why would there be a delay in the delivery of WPA checks?

  • What is the process by which WPA workers receive their wages?

  • Is this system efficient? Do you see any way to speed it along?

  • How have merchants (community business owners) been enlisted to help out?

  • While county relief headquarters have no funds to distribute, of what do they have a surplus to distribute to relief clients?

  • What does Miss Gugenheim and the relief office say about “canned meat”? What is your impression of these comments? How would recipients of relief hear them?

Enrichment: Research depression era cooking and prepare a dish for the class. Cooking with Clara (http://www.greatdepressioncooking.com) is a wonderful site to share with the children. It couples oral history with depression-era food. Wonderful stuff.

Lesson 4.2 Works Progress Administration (WPA)--Urban

“Relief Office Awaits Plans for PWA Here” Urbana Daily Courier: July 8, 1935 (pg. 3)



  • Given that the article is about the Works Progress Administration (WPA) what is wrong with the headline?

  • Who was named the head of the district Works Progress office? Where would the district office be? (District Map…origin unknown)

  • Why was it advantageous that Champaign and Urbana were considered as one city by the WPA?

  • Consider the wage scale indicated in this article. Do you believe that the discrepancy of wage levels between skilled and unskilled workers is fair? Why or why not?

  • Where must proposed projects be referred before they are submitted to the WPA?

  • According to the last paragraph, what projects will be approved first? Why would this be so?

“Wilson Speaks to Supervisors” Urbana Daily Courier: July 25, 1935 (pg. 3) (photo)

  • What position does Ralph Wilson hold?

  • Who was he addressing at this meeting?

  • What was the purpose of this meeting?

  • According to Wilson, how would a proposal be met with more funds for materials and PWA services?

  • The last paragraph involves the distinction between the PWA and the WPA. People back then were struggling to know the difference between these two important New Deal programs. Can you distinguish between the two parts of FDR’s “Alphabet Soup”?

“Work for 3000 Men in County’s WPA” Urbana Daily Courier: Sep. 7, 1935 (pg. 3)

  • Given that 3,000 men had WPA jobs, what happened to the number of people dependent on public relief?

  • What would be the path of a proposed project after it left the desk of WPA Engineer Fred Lohmann?

  • What was the most common type of WPA project in Champaign County in September?

  • What type of recreation programs were advanced by WPA projects?

  • What impresses you most about this extensive list of projects?

  • What types of jobs would be necessary to complete these projects? Skills involved?

  • Do you possess the skills to complete these projects? What training would be necessary?

“WPA Worker Gets in Trouble Trying to Pick His ‘Boss’” Urbana Daily Courier: Dec 6, 1935 (pg. 1)

  • What two jobs did Sidney Gard hold with the WPA in November of 1935?

  • Why did Mr. Gard refuse to return to work for Henry Covert on the project between Sidney and Broadlands?

  • Do you think it is fair that he was “discharged” by the WPA?

  • What did the discharge report claim about Mr. Gard?

  • What additional problem did Mr. Gard face because of his action?

  • What does this article say about the rights of WPA workers?

  • Should they have had the same rights and protections as other workers? More?

“WPA Projects Here Valued Over Million” Urbana Daily Courier: Nov 2, 1936

  • $1,275,000 was the “total value (of WPA projects) to the county in worth of work and relief cost avoided” during the first year of operation. Why did the WPA add both to figure the value of the projects?

  • Of the 50 projects in operation since the WPA started, how many were completed?

  • Examine the list of Champaign County WPA projects. Choose five that would make sense to do again today as part of a new stimulus program.

  • What was the largest job? Smallest job?

  • What does the article consider a “major feature” of the WPA program in the county?

  • How would projects like these affect life in the county as a whole?

  • How many women were employed by the WPA at the time this article was printed?

  • Why is this number relatively low in comparison to the number of men?

  • Reviewing the list of projects, what types of jobs would you guess were done by women?

  • Would the WPA see its next birthday? (See the last sentence.)


Lesson 4.3 Works Progress Administration (WPA)—Rural

“WPA in DeWitt County” Urbana Daily Courier: Aug 1, 1936 (Part I, Part II, Part III)



  • Why would WPA money go to cities before going to rural communities?

  • The article states that “jobs even in good times have been at a premium”. Why would this be true?

  • Why would rural communities like those in DeWitt County be isolated from the rest of the state?

  • What impact would this isolation have on lives there (esp. economically)?

  • What changes would WPA projects bring? Focus upon the road projects named in Part II.

  • What additional programs that modernized life in rural communities are mentioned in Part III?

  • Consider the last paragraph:

    • This tour of the projects in DeWitt County has revealed some of the more obvious benefits of the WPA program. The less obvious benefits—restored self-respect, pride in ability to work, the proud air of economic sufficiency—are equally as important. And the improvements are permanent.”

    • Restate the impact of the WPA programs on the attitudes in this rural community.

    • What emotional problems would people have during the depression? How did the WPA address the people’s needs?

    • What is the author’s message in the last sentence?

“Water Works to Modernize Village” Champaign-Urbana News Gazette: Dec 14, 1941

  • How was this $66,000 project paid for?

  • Who would have made the proposal for this project?

  • How could something like “water works” modernize the village of St. Joseph?

  • What impact would water service have on community development?

  • Note the date. Given the history of the New Deal programs, this is late in the game. Why would New Deal programs be slower to reach rural communities?

  • Note the date, again. What significant event happened a week prior? What impact would this event have on the future of the WPA?

“Community Building Nearly Done” Champaign Urbana News Gazette: May 17, 1942 (photo)

  • What impact did the community building in Broadlands have for the people living in the community?

  • How will it impact the students living in the community?

  • Is this a good use of government money?

  • Did the WPA pay for the entire project?

  • Why did FDR always insist that municipal governments match funds for the completion of projects?

  • What former head of the WPA in Champaign County was the chief engineer on this project?

  • Given that we were getting deeper into WWII, are you surprised that “life went on” as usual in terms of these projects? What would be the consequences (economic, social and emotional) if it did not?


Lesson 4.4 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

“Former Urbana High Youth Declares CCC Is Great Outing and Pleasant Work” Champaign-Urbana News Gazette: Sept 9, 1933 (Part I, Part II)



  • What role does H. Bernard Baker have at his camp? What advantages does this give him?

  • What comments does he make about his experiences in nature?

  • What are some of the activities that the boys do to pass leisure time?

  • Where does his pay check go?

  • Did all of the boys have the same experience in the CCC?

  • How would you summarize his experiences?

  • Why is it important that this young man earn a salary?

  • What impact would accounts like this have on enrollments in the CCC?

  • Does it make you want to join?

“Applications for CCC Camp Work Will Be Accepted” Daily Illini Sep 28, 1934 (pg. 2)



  • What two people, in what offices, are responsible for filling the county allotment for the CCC?

  • What is the limit for applications per county? Why do you suppose they had such a limit?

  • What are the prerequisites for applicants? Why do you think each was important?

  • Why would this article be of special interest to the readers of this particular periodical?

  • Do you think that college students today would be interested in such a program?

“CCC Costs Found to Total $443,000,000 for giving work to 850,000 Men During Year” Daily Illini: Sep. 30, 1934 (pg. 11)

  • How many men worked for the CCC in 1934? At what expense?

  • What three monetary costs combine to make up the total amount?

  • What additional benefits are there to this program?

  • Did the CCC benefit certain states more than others? What does (doesn’t) the article say?

  • The quote from Robert Fechner in the second to last paragraph indicates what about the state of the economy?

  • Summarize what the last paragraph says about the impact of the CCC.

“Would Militarize CCC” Urbana Daily Courier: Aug 1, 1936

  • What does the first paragraph of this editorial say would be the two benefits of military training in CCC camps?

  • Why would CCC workers be susceptible to influence by communistic ideas?

  • Given the year of the article, why would militarization of our young men be a pressing issue?

  • According to the author, why is the CCC “least vulnerable to criticism”?

  • Summarize the intent of this editorial.

  • Do you agree with the author’s arguments?

  • Do these arguments carry weight today given the weight on our military by wars abroad?

“Danville Area Named Kickapoo State Park” Urbana Daily Courier: Aug 13, 1939

  • Why was Kickapoo State Park given its name?

  • Where is and how big is Kickapoo State Park?

  • From where did the 200 workers transfer?

  • What jobs would these young men do in the new park site?

  • From which two sources did money for the camp come?

  • Recently Kickapoo State Park barely survived a budget cut in Springfield. Only after the protests of many angry citizens did it remain open. Given the huge budget deficits facing our state and our country, why is it important that such a park remain open?



Lesson 4.5 Rural Electrification Administration (REA)

“Lehmann Tells Plan for Farm Electrification” Urbana Daily Courier: Sept. 18, 1935 (pg. 3)



  • In what ways do farmers benefit from “electricification”?

  • What are the four problems Prof. Lehmann names that stand as obstacles in the process?

  • How would “electricification” change life in rural Champaign County?

“Electric Lines Serve 12,000 Farm Families” Urbana Daily Courier: Aug. 19, 1938 (Part I, Part II)

  • What does this article state is the reason for the establishment of the REA?

  • Has the program been successful? What evidence does the article give?

  • How does Champaign County rank in comparison with others regarding allotments?

“Rural Power Network Grows” (Cooperative Map): Urbana Daily Courier: Dec. 20, 1938

  • To what Rural Power Cooperative did Champaign County belong according to the map?

  • What three counties also made up part of the same cooperative?

  • How many miles of rural power lines did out cooperative include as of Dec. 20, 1938?

  • What five cooperatives had more power lines than ours?

  • How does Central Illinois compare to Southern Illinois in terms of amount of lines erected?

  • What does this fact imply about life in each region of the state?

  • Why do you think that the northern part of the state does not have cooperatives?

  • According to the caption, would you conclude that as of Dec. 20, 1938 that the “rural electricification process” was nearly finished? On what basis did you make your conclusion?



Lesson 5 December 28, 1935

In this lesson, students get into pairs and examine a photograph taken by a photographer from the Urbana Courier on a single day in December 1935. Each photograph captures the image of workers for the Works Progress Administration. The photographs were published in a photo essay in a single newspaper along with a simple article with the headline “1,471 at Work on County WPA Jobs Saturday”.



  1. Dec. 28 1935 Stump removal

  2. Dec 28, 1935 Sewer Project NW Champaign (Vine and Prospect)

  3. Dec 28, 1935 Storm Drain catch basins (175 employed)

  4. Dec 28, 1935 Street Improvement (Matthew Ave, Urbana)

  5. Dec 28, 1935 Crystal Lake Park (pump and tile…connect lake with Saline branch)

  6. Dec 28, 1935 Reclamation Park (Urbana)

  7. Dec 28, 1935 Repairing books at Urbana Free Library

  8. Dec. 28 1935 “Riprapping Boneyard” 2nd and Springfield in Champaign

  9. Dec 28, 1935 Relaying Brick Sidewalks (Oregon St., Urbana)

  10. Dec 28, 1935 “Ditch Gang” Church St., Champaign

  11. Dec 28, 1935 NW Champaign Sewer Project

Additional pictures from other dates in 1935-6 show a greater variety of WPA activities. They could provide a wider view of life working for the WPA. (WPA Pictures from Urbana Courier)

Students will be responsible for the following: (See Dec. 28, 1935 Photo Interpretation Worksheet)



  • Creating a caption for the picture. The actual captions can be provided, but it would be interesting to see how the students interpret the various activities. (Courier Captions)

  • Describing the entire project of which the workers are a part.

  • Providing a wage for the workers. This must be justified given the skills involved in the work depicted in the photo.

    • See “Relief Office Awaits Plans for PWA Here” Urbana Daily Courier: July 8, 1935 (pg. 3)

    • The WPA also employed writers, historians, musicians and artists. How much should these workers have been paid in comparison? Was this a good use of government money? Today?

  • Finally, the student pair must create a fictional narrative about the workers. Including:

    • A name, family background…who is at home depending on the worker?

    • Profession, educational background…..how did they get here?

    • A personal reflection on what the job means to them.

    • A perspective of FDR and of the future.

The students will share the resulting narratives either at the end of the hour or the next day. This lesson is intended to give the students an opportunity to explore the personal perspective of those living during the New Deal. The result will be a window into their own feelings regarding employment and the possibilities during an economic recession.

Lesson 6 Critics of FDR

FDR’s New Deal changed the functions and purpose of government dramatically. The introduction of the welfare state did not sit well with Americans that believed that government should play a much smaller role socially and economically. In this lesson, students will examine five political cartoons from various publications during the 1930s to assess the political mood of the times.



“The Best They Have to Offer” N.Y. World-Telegram: Aug. 11, 1934

  • Describe the three characters portrayed in the cartoon:

    • How does the artist depict the Republican Party (G.O.P.)?

    • Rugged individualism and Wall Street represent the 1920s…did they serve America well?

  • Interpret the two slogans:

    • “Back to 1929”: Was the economy healthy then? Is this a new solution?

    • “Roosevelt is a Red”: In what way were FDR’s policies “communistic”? Is this a fair criticism? Does it provide any new solutions to the problems of the era?

  • Does this cartoon criticize FDR or does it criticize the critics of FDR?

  • Consider present criticisms of President Obama by the Republicans. Does this cartoon apply today?

“Follow the Leader” New York Herald Tribune: April 29 1933

  • How does the artist depict FDR? Vs. Congress?

  • What are several of FDR’s early accomplishments depicted here?

  • If FDR is getting things done, how can this cartoon be a criticism of him?

  • What does this cartoon say about checks and balances?

  • What has President Obama done during his first year in office? How does it compare?

“Depression Mud Hole” Birmingham Age-Herald: Oct 2, 1933

  • Who are the three characters in this cartoon?

  • What is the donkey (Democrat) doing? How is he doing it?

  • Why does the elephant (Republican) criticize his methods? What does he mean by “artificial devices”?

  • Which side does the public appear to be taking?

  • President Obama often cites that it was President Bush’s failed policies that got us into the economic crisis…..are their similarities here?

“National Recovery Boat” Punch: June 5, 1933

  • Who is the character in the boat? In the water?

  • Is FDR taking “Uncle Sam” out of the water or throwing him back in?

  • Interpret the quote: “I’m sorry, but the Supreme Court says I must chuck you back again.”

  • Why would the Supreme Court reject FDR’s National Recovery Act?

  • Do you believe it to be unconstitutional?

  • How did FDR later try to remove this obstacle to his New Deal programs?

  • Does this cartoon criticize FDR or the Supreme Court?

  • The Supreme Court is currently conservative with many justices that are Republican appointees. Do you think that anything that Obama is doing could be construed as unconstitutional?

“Show Me Those Guys (boxing)” Washington Post: Dec. 4, 1935

  • Describe the three main characters in this cartoon:

    • Who is the fighter in the near corner? (Uncle Sam) How does he look he is fairing in he fight? Can he go many more rounds?

    • Who is the trainer? (FDR) What is his expression like? Is he favorably depicted here?

    • Who is Uncle Sam’s opponent? (National Debt) What is happening to him with each round?

  • Interpret FDR’s quote regarding how far this fight can go?

  • Do you agree with FDR’s economists (the “well informed fans”) that supported deficit spending?

  • Does this cartoon apply to President Obama today?

As homework, students must bring in an editorial or political cartoon about Barack Obama and his recovery programs. In short essay form, students can interpret the cartoon to be shared with the class. Students can point out similarities to the New Deal considering resistance to political change and social reform.

Sources

Newspapers:

  • “Initial Relief” from Champaign-Urbana News Gazette February 16, 1989 (Part I, Part II) Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “FDR’s Legacy endures in local sites” from Champaign-Urbana News Gazette May 2, 1997 (Part I, Part II); Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “Parasites on Relief” Daily Illini, Editorial: Sept. 21, 1934 (pg. 4) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “Make Second Cut in IERC Relief Funds” Urbana Daily Courier: Nov 14, 1935 (pg. 1) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “Drastic Cuts in Relief Due Says Miss Gugenheim” Urbana Daily Courier: Dec. 5, 1935 (p. 3) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “IERC Violating Pact, Pogue Says” Urbana Daily Courier: Dec. 6, 1935 (Part I, Part II) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “Relief Office Awaits Plans for PWA Here” Urbana Daily Courier: July 8, 1935 (pg. 3) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “Wilson Speaks to Supervisors” Urbana Daily Courier: July 25, 1935 (pg. 3) (photo) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “Work for 3000 Men in County’s WPA” Urbana Daily Courier: Sep. 7, 1935 (pg. 3) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “WPA Worker Gets in Trouble Trying to Pick His ‘Boss’” Urbana Daily Courier: Dec 6, 1935 (pg. 1) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “WPA Projects Here Valued Over Million” Urbana Daily Courier: Nov 2, 1936; Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “WPA in DeWitt County” Urbana Daily Courier: Aug 1, 1936 (Part I, Part II, Part III); Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “Water Works to Modernize Village” Champaign-Urbana News Gazette: Dec 14, 1941; Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “Community Building Nearly Done” Champaign Urbana News Gazette: May 17, 1942 (photo) Vertical File, Champaign County Historical Archives, Urbana Free Library

  • “Former Urbana High Youth Declares CCC Is Great Outing and Pleasant Work” Champaign-Urbana News Gazette: Sept 9, 1933 (Part I, Part II) ; Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “Applications for CCC Camp Work Will Be Accepted” Daily Illini Sep 28, 1934 (pg. 2) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “CCC Costs Found to Total $443,000,000 for giving work to 850,000 Men During Year” Daily Illini: Sep. 30, 1934 (pg. 11) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “Would Militarize CCC” Urbana Daily Courier: Aug 1, 1936 ; Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “Danville Area Named Kickapoo State Park” Urbana Daily Courier: Aug 13, 1939; Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “Lehmann Tells Plan for Farm Electrification” Urbana Daily Courier: Sept. 18, 1935 (pg. 3) ; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • “Electric Lines Serve 12,000 Farm Families” Urbana Daily Courier: Aug. 19, 1938 (Part I, Part II); Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

  • “1,471 at Work on County WPA Jobs Saturday” Urbana Daily Courier: Dec. 28, 1935; Digital Newspaper Collection; University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

Photographs:

“Rural Power Network Grows” (Cooperative Map): Urbana Daily Courier: Dec. 20, 1938

Works Progress Administration Photographic File. Pictures from the Urbana Daily Courier Champaign County Historical Archives, Urbana Free Library. (WPA Pictures from Urbana Courier)


  • Dec. 28 1935 Stump removal

  • Dec 28, 1935 Sewer Project NW Champaign (Vine and Prospect)

  • Dec 28, 1935 Storm Drain catch basins (175 employed)

  • Dec 28, 1935 Street Improvement (Matthew Ave, Urbana)

  • Dec 28, 1935 Crystal Lake Park (pump and tile…connect lake with Saline branch)

  • Dec 28, 1935 Reclamation Park (Urbana)

  • Dec 28, 1935 Repairing books at Urbana Free Library

  • Dec. 28 1935 “Riprapping Boneyard” 2nd and Springfield in Champaign

  • Dec 28, 1935 Relaying Brick Sidewalks (Oregon St., Urbana)

  • Dec 28, 1935 “Ditch Gang” Church St., Champaign

  • Dec 28, 1935 NW Champaign Sewer Project

  • June 25 1936 “Playday” at Hessel Park

  • June 25, 1936 Croquet at Crystal Lake Park

  • Dec 12, 1935 Recreation Project…handicraft classes

  • Mar 4, 1937 Boneyard tunnel (Coler and Busey to Washington in Urbana)

  • Jan 25, 1936 Book Repairs at the Urbana Free Library

  • Dec 23,1937 Candles for Church Paraders (Champaign)

  • Aug 18, 1937 Removing rails from abandoned street car system (Champaign)

Works Progress Administration District Map; Illinois Division of Operators; July 31, 1939; Works Progress Administration Photographic File; Champaign County Historical Archives; Urbana Free Library

Local Photographs taken by Marshall Schacht



  • Leal Elementary School (July 8, 2009)

  • Champaign Central High School (June 24, 2009)

  • Champaign City Building (June 17, 2009)

  • Illini Union (June 29, 2009)

  • National Guard Armory of Champaign (July 2, 2009)

  • Windsor Road Construction (June 31, 2009)

Political Cartoons:

“The Best They Have to Offer” N.Y. World-Telegram: Aug. 11, 1934

“Follow the Leader” New York Herald Tribune: April 29 1933

“Depression Mud Hole” Birmingham Age-Herald: Oct 2, 1933

“National Recovery Boat” Punch: June 5, 1933

“Show Me Those Guys (boxing)” Washington Post: Dec. 4, 1935



Lesson 7 Proposing a New “New Deal”

After studying the rationale behind the New Deal, the practical applications of FDR’s many agencies in Central Illinois and the criticisms of the creation of a welfare state, students are now prepared to consider what programs are necessary today to stimulate the economy. Students will work in small groups to come up with their own local projects to be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

To start the unit students will examine a few local pictures indicating the presence of government programs in Champaign County right now: American Recovery and Investment Act in Urbana


  • The pictures were taken in Urbana on Windsor Road just West of Rt. 130.

  • Students should comment on the symbolism on the sign and note similarities to the NRA symbol.

On the Illinois Recovery website (www.recovery.illinois.gov), Governor Pat Quinn invites direct public participation in the process. Following the link to “suggest a project” students can do their part to “rebuild and restore Illinois”. The form includes a description of the project, an estimate of the number of jobs created and an estimate of the cost.

Working in small groups, students will complete the form, make a proposal and share it with the class. Each completed plan will be submitted to the Governor’s Stimulus Team for consideration.

The lesson here is that the federal government has created this stimulus package for us to use. If we and our local government officials do not apply for federal money for local projects it is our loss. Central Illinois benefited from the New Deal programs in the 1930s and early 1940s because of active civil servants that envisioned projects that would benefit those in need of work. If we are to gain from the current recovery initiatives, it is up to us to make it happen.


Marshall Schacht

Mr. Roosevelt Comes to Champaign-Urbana



AHTC Summer Fellowship 2009



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