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. What was the name of the private relief organization that Dr. Martin Bickham worked with in the 1930's?

2. What does Wilbur Kane still dislike about Roosevelt?

3. What psychiatric complaints did Dr. Nathan Ackerman's patients most often bring to him?

4. How were the actors able to perform the opening night of The Cradle Will Rock?

5. According to Scoop Lankford, when did conditions finally improve in the prison?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What was the most controversial component of the New Deal?

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

4. How did Wilbur Kane experience the Joe Louis fight against Max Schmeling?

5. According to Horace Cayton, why did black Americans not join the Communists en masse?

6. How does Alf Landon recall his 1936 campaign against Roosevelt in the book?

7. What did Hiram Sherman do after The Cradle Will Rock?

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

9. What was Edward Burgess's experience of the 1930's?

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

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

The Franklin Roosevelt administration was a hothouse of young minds and genius fiscal conservatives. Write an essay about the crucible of ideas that this administration fostered. What initial ideas came out of this group, and how were they killed out of the gate? What politicking occurred within the administration, in terms of currying favor with the President? What actions did FDR take that alienated huge swaths of his supporters?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the Appalachian mining communities' attempts to unionize. How was this group of workers facing Depression-style injustice before the Depression started? What type of power did companies wield in Appalachia, and how did they enforce this power? Discuss how normal tension between management and would-be unionizing broke into full war in the 1930's? What was the result?

(see the answer keys)

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