Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
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On June 27, 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt accepted the Democratic party's nomination to run for a second term as President of the U.S. In this excerpt from his speech to the Democratic National Convention, Roosevelt compares the struggle to gain economic equality to the American Revolution's fight for political equality and defends the role of…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1936

In his 1941 State of the Union address to Congress, excerpted below, President Franklin Roosevelt outlines his plan for how the United States will combat worldwide threats to democracy. Known as the "Four Freedoms" speech, this strong plea for national and personal sacrifice in the face of war defines several aspects of democracy that are "worth…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1941

In 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent this letter to clergymen around the country. He received over 100,000 responses from priests, rabbis, and ministers serving diverse congregations that varied by geography, size, religious views, and socio-economic levels.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1935

In this activity, students compare World War II propaganda posters from the United States, Great Britain, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. Then students choose one of several creative or analytical writing assignments to demonstrate what they've learned.

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2011

While government planners and factory owners assumed that women’s industrial work during World War II would last only as long as the war lasted, many of the women had other ideas. After the war ended, despite their new skills, they found themselves forced to accept the same low-paying positions that had been the only jobs available to them…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: 1980

The hard times of the Great Depression were even harder for African Americans, who were often the “last hired and first fired.” Particularly hard hit were black domestic workers (mostly female) and black tenant farmers (mostly male), the two broadly defined occupations that employed about 60% of all African Americans. As the National…

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Item Type: Quantitative Data
Date: 1935

The U.S. government forced more than 100,000 Japanese Americans to leave their homes and businesses on the West Coast and report to one of fifteen assembly centers. At these centers they were first processed and then transported by train to one of ten permanent relocation centers, or camps, hundreds or even thousands of miles from their homes. The…

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Item Type: Quantitative Data
Date: 1999

Before World War II (1941-1945), when women worked outside the home it was usually in jobs traditionally considered to be “women’s work.” These included teaching, domestic service, clerical work, nursing, and library science. During the war, the nation needed more airplanes, ships, trucks, and other military hardware, and had…

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Item Type: Quantitative Data
Date: 1941

This presentation outlines the goals of the Bracero Program, the people who joined, and the results of the program during World War II. It also includes instructions for the corrido-writing activity outlined in "Nos creemos Americanos: Braceros in History and Song."

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2010

This billboard advertisement, dating from the early 1940s, suggests the common ground shared by the labor and civil rights movements. Created by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the more progressive of the country's two main labor federations, the billboard urges support for Roosevelt's Fair Employment Practices Committee legislation…

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Item Type: Advertisement
Date: Circa 1941