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America's History in the Making

By the People, For the People

In the Video

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Historical Perspectives

Historical Perspectives

Even before the stock market crash of October 1929, some regions of the United States were in a depression. By the end of the 1920s, the distribution of wealth was out of balance, and rural America faced an economic crisis caused, in part, by an overproduction of goods.

In response to the Depression, the Roosevelt administration implemented new work and benefit programs called the "New Deal," which ultimately changed the relationship between people and the federal government. Many Americans welcomed government assistance, although some viewed the New Deal with suspicion. Still others, whose ideas represented the entirety of the political spectrum, proposed radical actions and believed Roosevelt's policies did not go far enough in ending the Depression. In spite of opposition, Roosevelt benefited from a new and more inclusive national culture that was reflected in Hollywood movies.

Faces of America

Faces of America

Anne Marie Low, a survivor of the Dust Bowl; Will Rogers, a populist social critic; and Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, illustrate the effects the Great Depression had on individuals and how they responded to a national crisis.

Ann Marie Low's diary recounts the economic hardships endured by American farmers and the efforts by federal agents to buy the family farm so that the Civilian Conservation Corps could build a wildlife refuge.

Will Rogers, a goodwill ambassador for rural America, became a famous humorist and social commentator, and often criticized the economic disparity within the United States.

In the first quarter of the twentieth century, Henry Ford changed American life, industry, and labor. Although he was known to pay his workers double the industry average, he opposed unions and used violence to prevent labor from organizing during the Depression.

Hands on History

Hands on History

How do consultants imbue fictionalized history with detailed accuracy?

Retired Colonel John Antal, a historical consultant for Gearbox Software, uses historical research, aerial photography, rifles, and German weather almanacs to help software engineers design a World War II video game. Read edited Hands on History interview with Colonel John Antal.

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