What generalizations can historians make about the New Deal?

On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, which created new federal programs designed to relieve poverty among particular groups of Americans. The Social Security Act was one of the largest and longest lasting of Roosevelt’s reforms, which historians refer to collectively as the New Deal. Historians today generally agree that the Social Security Act was the heart of the New Deal reforms. In fact, the opinions most Americans had about Social Security were very similar to the opinions they had about the New Deal as a whole. In your second paper for this course, you will use your knowledge, along with a set of primary sources, to investigate the opinions different Americans had about the best ways to relieve poverty during the Great Depression. As you do so, you’ll answer the following question: What does Social Security tell us about the set of policies and programs called the New Deal? Your paper should make an argument, using the primary sources at Historical Thinking Matters as evidence, about the New Deal, including who was excluded from its programs, how different groups of Americans viewed Roosevelt’s policies, and the alternatives that they proposed during the 1930s. Based on what these documents say about the 1935 Social Security Act, what generalizations can historians make about the New Deal? Getting Started: • Navigate to Historical Thinking Matters’ assignment page on Social Security <goo.gl/mUfPCe>. This is where you will access the materials required to complete this assignment. • Watch the introductory video. • Re-read Chapter 21 in Give Me Liberty! for context on Social Security and the New Deal. • Read the historical primary sources for the Warm-Up Exercise (goo.gl/PKVwcA). Read each of the two sources on the left-hand side of the page (you can toggle between them using the “1931 Advertisement” and “Long” tabs) and use the questions on the right-hand side of the page (click on the “questions” tab to view them) to guide your analysis. You may create an account on the site if you wish, but this is not required. I will post a printable version of the Warm-Up Exercise to Blackboard. While the Warm-Up Exercise is not a requirement for this assignment, it will help to reinforce the kind of critical thinking that the papers for this class will require. Completing the Warm-Up Exercise will help you to earn a higher grade on this assignment. I strongly urge you to complete the Warm-Up Exercise, and to talk about it with me or with the TAs.

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