The Depths of the Great Depression

Review Questions

Which of the following hardships did African Americans not typically face during the Great Depression?

  1. lower farm wages in the South
  2. the belief that white workers needed jobs more than their black counterparts
  3. white workers taking historically “black” jobs, such as maids and janitors
  4. widespread race riots in large urban centers



Which of the following was not a key factor in the conditions that led to the Dust Bowl?

  1. previous overcultivation of farmland
  2. decreasing American demand for farm produce
  3. unfavorable weather conditions
  4. poor farming techniques regarding proper irrigation and acreage rotation



What did the popular movies of the Depression reveal about American values at that time? How did these values contrast with the values Americans held before the Depression?


American films in the 1930s served to both assuage the fears and frustrations of many Americans suffering through the Depression and reinforce the idea that communal efforts—town and friends working together—would help to address the hardships. Previous emphasis upon competition and individualism slowly gave way to notions of “neighbor helping neighbor” and seeking group solutions to common problems. The Andy Hardy series, in particular, combined entertainment with the concept of family coming together to solve shared problems. The themes of greed, competition, and capitalist-driven market decisions no longer commanded a large audience among American moviegoers.