Your learning objectives for this simulation



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Introduction

The Great Depression in the United States was the worst and longest economic collapse in the history of the modern industrial world, lasting from the end of 1929 until the early 1940s. This decline spead to many industrialized countries, since countries were dependent on each other for economic stability. There were many contributing factors that led to the Depression. The main factor was the maldistribution of wealth during the 1920s. Money was unequally divided between the rich and the poor, between Europe and America. This created an imbalance in wealth, which ultimately led to economic instability. Another contributing factor was the Stock Market Crash of 1929, which bankrupted thousands of investors, and destroyed people's confidence in the economy. Many people were left unemployed due to rapid declines in production and selling of goods. A large number of people lost their homes, businesses, jobs, and spirit. Many people depended on charities for food, clothing, and shelter.

There are many different ways to analyze the Great Depression. Through collaboration with your fellow team members you will gain insight from four different analytical perspectives. This will broaden your knowledge of this historical event, that affected millions of people.


The Quest

Analyze the economic, social, political, and cultural aspects of the Great Depression?

Your learning objectives for this simulation:

1. Understand the causes that led to the Great Depression.


2. Evaluate the successes and failures of FDR's New Deal.
3. Understand how short-sighted economic policies of the 1920s led to the Great Depression?
4. Understand the social ramifications of the Great Depression.
5.Understand the culture of the 1930s, in relation to the Great Depression.


The Process and Resources

In this Webquest, you will be dividing into groups of four to answer the question. Each person will pick an analytical perspective to research. For example, one person will provide an economic analysis, another will provide a cultural, and so on. Each person will familiarize themselves with the topic by using the website links.

Follow these steps to get the most out of the Quest.

1. Assign the different analytical perspectives.

Each group should have four students. Each student should pick a different perspective to research. The perspectives to choose from are economic, social, political, and cultural.

2. Study the general background information. This will provide an overview of the Great Depression, before you begin studying various perspectives.

3. As a group, decide on who will research each topic.

4. Prepare a group essay that answers the questions for each perspective, which are listed below. Be sure to provide support from the links for your arguments.



Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

Use the following links to learn about the background and context of the Great Depression.

Before you begin your discussion, each member should visit the following websites. This will prepare you to assign the perspectives. Look at the timelines to get a sense of important events and presidential administrations preceding the crisis.


  • Overview of The Great Depression - This site provides an general overview of the Great Depression.

  • Timeline of The Great Depression - This website provides an extensive and detailed timeline of the Great Depression

  • Causes of The Great Depression - The Keynesian Theory is described. Also, politics of the 1920s are described.

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Individuals from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the analysis below.

2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.

4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task based on what you have learned from the links for your role.



Economic Analysis

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Economic Analysis:

1. List the economic causes of the Great Depression?

2. What was the major economic cause of the Great


Depression?

3. What economic reforms in the 1920s could have prevented the Great Depression?

Your main goal as economic analyst is to explain to your team why the economy collapsed. There are many different views on why the Depression occurred. Your task is to research the differing opinions and determine which one is the most credible to you.


  • Causes of The Stock Market Crash of 1929 - This site provides details of why the stock market crashed.

  • Economic Analysis of the 1929 Crash - This site provides charts and summaries of business cycles.

  • Analysis of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 - Extensive analysis of the crash and the consequences of the crash.

  • Why did the Stock Market Crash? - Explains why the stock market crashed.

  • The main causes of the Great Depression - Describes the main causes of the Great Depression, exploring the 1920s, as well.

Social Analysis

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Social Analysis:

1. What was the social atmosphere during the Great Depression?

2. How were children affected by the Depression?

3. How were farmers affected by the Depression and the devastating dustbowls?

Your main goal as social analyst is to describe the social atmosphere during the Depression. Did many racial groups suffer. Use the oral history to explain to your group how life was like for children, men, women, and African-Americans.



  • American Cultural History during The Great Depression 1930-1939 - The purpose of this site is to help the user gain a broader understanding and appreciation for the culture of the 1930's.

  • Labor Unions During The Great Depression and World War II - This site provides insight into labor unions during this time frame. Highlights Roosevelt's pro-union stance and New Deal measures.

  • Unemployment during The Great Depression - This website eplains how unemployment affected society.

  • Race Relations in the 1930s and 1940s - This website describes race relations during the 1930s and 1940s. Highlights on the treatment of African-Americans.

  • Reminiscences of The Great Depression - This website provides first-hand accounts from individuals that lived through the Depression.

  • Black Sunday - Describes the destruction of the last worst and major dust storm.

  • A Letter to FDR - This is an excerpt of a letter written to FDR from an ordinary citizen. Click on 'entire interview' to read the entire letter.

  • Begging during The Great Depression - A narrative about the Garrett's family struggle during the Depression.

  • Farm Life and the Dust Bowl - Describes the plight of farmers during the Depression

  • Oral History transcribed from the Great Depression - Click on the various names to read their narratives. What do these links tell us about their social environment?

  • Letters to Mrs. Roosevelt - Click on the various letters and read about the social conditions of the Depression. Includes letters from children.

Political Analysis

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Political Analysis:

1. Compare and contrast the administration of Hoover and Roosevelt?

2. What was the major political cause of the Great Depression?

3. Which programs of the New Deal, were the most sucessful?

Your main goal as political analyst is to evaluate the politics that led up to, and during the Great Depression. However, focus on determining the successes and failures of the New Deal. Be able to determine if Hoover's administration was responsible for the New Deal.



  • FDR's First Inagural Address - FDR's 1st inagural address is located towards the bottom of the site. Brief summary of the address is provided.

  • FDR's Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundation of the Recovery Program - Primary Sources include a reproduction of a radio address by FDR concerning the New Deal. A summary of the New Deal.

  • Herbert Hoover's Early Response to the Great Depression - This site puts the Great Depression in historical context. In addition, details Hoover's early response to the crisis.

  • FDR's Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundation of the Recovery Program - Primary Sources include a reproduction of a radio address by FDR concerning the New Deal. A summary of the New Deal.

  • Herbert Hoover's Early Response to the Great Depression - This site puts the Great Depression in historical context. In addition, details Hoover's early response to the crisis.

  • The Depression Papers of Herbert Hoover - This website provides an extensive collections of Hoover's official papers and public statements that relate directly or indirectly to his economic policy during The Great Depression.

  • Successes and Failures of FDR's New Deal - Analysis of some programs of the New Deal.

  • FDR and the New Deal - A brief summary of FDR's New Deal

  • Summary of the Causes of the Great Depression - Variety of explanations for the cause of the Depression.

  • Philosophies of Hoover and Roosevelt - Descibes the philosophies of the two presidents.

  • Critics of the New Deal - Overview of the New Deal criticism

Cultural Analysis

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Cultural Analysis:

1. What was the purpose of implementing Arts during the Depression?

2. What did the radio and newspaper explain about the era?

3. What was the African-American perspective on the Depression?

Your main goal as cultural analyst is to determine what the culture(arts) of the Depression explains about their attitude. Did people look to the arts(movies, paintings) for inspiration. You should be able to explain to your group what the newspaper, radio transcripts, art, and film say about the era.



  • American Cultural History during The Great Depression 1930-1939 - The purpose of this site is to help the user gain a broader understanding and appreciation for the culture of the 1930's.

  • African-American Perspective of The Great Depression - This website describes how African-Americans survived the depression.

  • Picture of a Soup Kitchen - This picture portrays the lack of despair during the Depression.

  • The 1930s in Print - On this website you can navigate the newspaper by clicking on the sections located on the left-hand side.

  • Art and Projects during the 1930s - At the bottom of this website, click on the various projects to see the spirit of the 1930s.

  • Radio during the 1930s - On this website click on various titles to learn about radio programs during the 1930s.

  • The Great Depression and the Arts - Describes the Arts in 1930s.

  • Films in the 1930s - Explores the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

Each group member has learned about a different perspective on the Great Depression. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Task as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, letters, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to explain to your analysis of the question. Your WebQuest team should collectively answer the question.




Conclusion

Now you can see that there are many ways to approach studying the Great Depression. It's useful to gain different perspectives from your classmates for understanding a topic as broad or complex as the Great Depression: when you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of the Great Depression could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.

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