American History: A Survey (Brinkley), 13th Edition

Chapter 24: THE NEW DEAL

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U.S. Elections | Unemployment Relief

U.S. Elections

Thomas Jefferson won the Presidency in 1800 in what has been called a political revolution for the new Republic. The election was the first in which two parties faced one another in a presidential election, and demonstrated that Americans could peacefully change their government through the electoral process. Jefferson, after narrowly defeating John Adams in the electoral college, pledged in his inaugural address to unite the country, "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists." The two-party system that was born in this election persists until the present.


The election of Thomas Jefferson brought to power a new political party, the Democratic-Republicans. Was this party a national organization, representing the U.S. as a whole, or sectional party, representing only the South? What evidence is there for each position?


Why did a two-party system arise in the election of 1800? What effect did this system have on American political history? Was this a healthy or unhealthy development for American political life?


Write a diary as an observer from France in the United States during the Election of 1800. What are your views of the election? What do you think the election reveals about American political life? Compare America's peaceful transition to Democratic-Republican rule with political life in post-revolutionary France? How do you explain the differences?

Unemployment Relief

The stock market crash of 1929, followed by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, forced many families to take to the road in a mass exodus from those lands which had been the hardest hit. The majority of those who chose to leave the Midwest journeyed to the West Coast in hope of finding employment. During the 1930s, over 25% of the residents who chose to remain in some states were recipients of unemployment relief. The federal government offered several programs to combat the poverty of the Great Depression and drought of the Dust Bowl. Among the most effective were the Works Progress Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps (which built countless buildings in National and State Parks, as well as bridges, and other infrastructure improvements throughout the country), and the Farm Security Administration which, among other things, provided housing and food for displaced farmers.


What, if anything, do the states receiving the most financial aid have in common?


Why might people have chosen to travel to California instead of another state or region with comparable unemployment statistics?


Are statistics on unemployment relief an accurate way to measure the financial situation of a particular state or area? Why or why not?

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