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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945) (x)

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An Angry Citizen Urges FDR to Help "Real Americans"

In this letter to President Roosevelt, the writer provides his own definition of a "real American." His frustration regarding inadequate government relief is expressed alongside racist, anti-semitic, and nativist sentiments. The letter is signed [...]

A Citizen Claims the New Deal is a Path Towards Socialism

This 1934 letter to Senator Robert F. Wagner protests President Roosevelt's New Deal policies. The writer argues for stimulating private business to create employment, and against increasing the role of the federal government. Since the 19th [...]

A Worker Warns Eleanor Roosevelt of Growing Class Unrest

As the Great Depression dragged on through the 1930s, critics on the left blamed the Roosevelt Administration for not going far enough. They maintained that New Deal measures had mostly shored up banks and industries without sufficiently providing [...]

A Black American Asks FDR to End Racial Inequalities in Federal Relief

Although Franklin D. Roosevelt never endorsed anti-lynching legislation and condoned discrimination against blacks in federally funded relief programs, he still won the hearts and the votes of many African Americans. Yet this support and even [...]

Workers Applaud the New Deal's Works Progress Administration

In this letter to President Roosevelt written in 1936, Michigan workers express their gratitude for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs and urge the president to continue WPA efforts. The letter describes how working improves their [...]

A Hotel Worker Requests Labor Laws for Women

In this letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, an aging Southern hotel worker describes long hours and hard working conditions. Advocating on behalf of women hotel laborers, she requests a six day, 48 hour work week, and an improved pension for older workers. [...]

A World War II Soldier Finds Segregation on Army Bases

Although over a million African-American men and women served during World War II, they continued to experience discrimination in the armed forces. In addition to being relegated to segregated combat units, often in service-and-supply capacities, [...]

A Utah Observer Praises the CCC

In this letter to a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) recruitment center in Salt Lake City, Utah, a local official describes the positive impact of the program on enrolled youth. The CCC, enacted during the first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's [...]

New York Girls Ask the President for a CCC of Their Own

The Civilian Conservation Corps, established in 1933, employed a quarter of a million young men annually who lived in military-style camps and carried out conservation and construction projects. It proved to be one of the most popular New Deal [...]

A Citizen Reports How the New Deal Has Impacted His Life (with text supports)

This letter was written to FDR after his Fireside Chat radio broadcast of June 28, 1934, in which he explained the "Three R's" of the New Deal: relief, recovery, and reform. While economic data showed that the nation was beginning to recover from [...]

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