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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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A White-Collar Worker Calls the New Deal "Downright Stealing"

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 [...]

An Ordinary Georgian "Wants Lights!"

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 [...]

Timeline of Selected New Deal Legislation

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 [...]

The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Japanese Incarceration

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 [...]

The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments

Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing slavery, before the Civil War had ended. Once the war was over, white southerners passed laws (known as Black Codes) to keep freedmen from exercising their rights, and Congress [...]

Thaddeus Stevens Calls for Redistribution of Confederate Land

On January 6, 1865, General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order #15, which gave millions of acres of land along the Atlantic coast to emancipated slaves, in lots of not more than 40 acres per family. In March 1865, Representative Thaddeus [...]

Alice Paul Hangs the Ratification Banner at Suffrage Headquarters

After Congress approved the 19th Amendment in June 1919, the amendment had to be ratified by three fourths of the states. Fortunately, suffragists were well organized at the local level to pressure state legislatures into approving the amendment. To [...]

The 14th and 15th Amendments

Following the Civil War and abolition of slavery, Republicans in Congress passed reconstruction laws meant to guarantee full citizenship and suffrage to African Americans. The 14th amendment required states to guarantee the rights of all citizens, [...]

How an Amendment Gets Passed worksheet

This handout explains the process for passing amendments, as outlined in the Constitution, as well as the larger forces that push Congress and voters to support or oppose Constitutional change.

"OSHA at Forty"

This short article by public health historians David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz reflects on the fortieth anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, passed in 1970. OSHA is one of the most important pieces of labor legislation ever [...]