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In this activity students read two letters (one from Hoover, one from FDR) to determine different political beliefs that guided the presidents in their responses to the Great Depression.
In this activity students read short excerpts of documents that show how the expectations of women, African Americans, and working white men were raised by the rhetoric of liberty during the American Revolution. Students write petitions to the Continental Congress from one of the three group's perspectives, explaining how their group responded to…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2008

In 1965 the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments, also known as the Hart-Cellar Act, were signed by President Johnson, ending the quota system which had guided U.S. immigration policy since the 1920s and which had given overwhelming preference to applicants from Northern European countries. In a speech marking the occasion, Johnson outlined…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1965

America fought World War II to preserve freedom and democracy, yet that same war featured the greatest suppression of civil liberties in the nation’s history. In an atmosphere of hysteria, President Roosevelt, encouraged by officials at all levels of the federal government, authorized the internment of tens of thousands of American citizens…

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Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
Date: 1944

African Americans recognized that New Deal programs offered the best opportunity since Reconstruction to improve the incomes, skills, education and housing conditions for the black community. However, as organizations like the National Urban League and the NAACP noted, racist administrators on the local level or indifferent managers at the federal…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1941

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

The sign on this car is addressed to the head of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), which developed electrical infrastructure (power lines, hydroelectric dams) and cooperatives for farmers to buy electricity and electric appliances. Only about 10% of rural Americans had electric power in the early 1930s, compared to 90% of urban Americans. …

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1938

Conservative critics of the New Deal disliked the new regulations on businesses and feared the long-term consequences of deficit spending, which they likened to socialism and the end of freedom. Some also expressed nativist or racist feelings that government programs helped people who weren’t “real Americans” and raised…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1937

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

During his first two years in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress passed programs intended to provide temporary but immediate relief to those who were struggling and restore confidence in the banks. Roosevelt’s critics demanded he keep a balanced budget, so he was unwilling to spend more money than the government took in…

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Item Type: Timeline
Date: 1934