Hard Times; an Oral History of the Great Depression Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to historian Christopher Lasch, what was never a serious possibility in the Depression?

2. With what assertion does David Kennedy say he disagrees regarding Roosevelt?

3. What was different about a teachers' strike in the 1930's?

4. How does Dr. Martin Bickham recommend his employers help struggling Americans during the Depression?

5. Of what sixties-era organization is Robert A. Baird's son Peter a member?

Short Essay Questions

1. How did Neil Schaffner's theatre troupe have to change their business model after the Crash 1929?

2. How much power did coal companies have in the towns they inhabited?

3. What safety concerns pervaded mines in the 1930's?

4. How does Max Shachtman explain the decline of Communism's popularity in America?

5. Who was Martin Dies?

6. In the Depression-era Midwest, how did corn prices lead to corn being burned and pigs being slaughtered?

7. What humiliation did Ward James face seeking relief in the 1930's?

8. How does Christopher Lasch explain the possibility of a socialist revolt in the 1930's?

9. What strange dichotomy exists in Stanley Kell's interview in Honor and Humiliation?

10. What role did Elsa Ponselle play in the forming of the Teacher's Union?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Studs Terkel's Hard Times is an oral history, meaning that it relies entirely on the conflagration of differing ideas. By including voices that speak from different experiences of the Depression, Terkel makes the debate the central focus of the history. Write an essay on this debate in three parts:

Part 1) The topic of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's success as a president is among the most controversial in the book. What are the arguments for his saving the United States? What are the arguments against such an assertion? How do these arguments reveal the dueling ideologies in America both in the 1930's and in 1970?

Part 2) Terkel interviews individuals who suffered greatly in the Depression and those who did not, including some who actually prospered in the desperation. How do the two groups' perceptions of the 1930's differ? What facts existed to support both a horrific and a majestic impression of the Depression years?

Part 3) Terkel interviews not only those who lived through the Depression but also their children and grandchildren. How does he juxtapose the worldviews of those who survived the poverty with those who did not? How do the younger generations see the Depression? Can they understand the residual effects it left with those who survived?

Essay Topic 2

During the Depression, the United States government offered amenities to its people that were unheard of in the past: farmland, housing, camps for the indigent. Write an essay about the public reaction to these amenities. How did each of them prove a model of cooperation? To what extent did people view them as a stepping stone to private ownership? Which of these amenities are still in existence? Why did some disappear and others degrade over time?

Essay Topic 3

The Great Depression was a period of time during which large organized movements sought to restructure American society. In a three part essay, discuss how several organized groups went about attempting the recreation of a country:

Part 1) What hole in the union movement did the CIO fill in the 1930's? What tactics did the unions use in the rust belt in order to organize industrial workers? What opposition did they face? How much success did the CIO achieve over the course of the Depression? How did its relationship with the AFL change in this time?

Part 2) How did the American Communist movement surge in popularity during the Hoover years, and how did events in Europe destroy much of its credibility? To what extent did Roosevelt's New Deal destroy its ability to accomplish its goals in the 1930's? What members did it lose after Roosevelt built his coalition?

Part 3) How were both the Catholic Worker and the Wobblies different from the unions and the Communists? What was each group's guiding philosophy? Did either one form a coalition during the Depression? What happened to them after the Depression?

(see the answer keys)

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