Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Table of Contents
- Preface (Andrea Guiden Pittman and Jenice L. View)
- Chapter One. Stepping into the New Deal: A Meet and Greet (Jenice L. View)
- Chapter Two. Teaching the Indian New Deal (John R. Gram)
- Chapter Three. Centering the Black Experience in Teaching the New Deal (Daniella Ann Cook and Jeffrey C. Eargle)
- Chapter Four. Years of Desperation, Years of Hope: The New Deal on the Border (Yolanda Chávez Leyva)
- Chapter Five. LGBTQIA+ Figures and the New Deal (Andrea Guiden Pittman)
- Chapter Six. When Change Confronts Continuity: The Roosevelts’ Battles Over Civil Rights (John H. Bickford)
- Chapter Seven. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Revered President or Overt Racist? (Angela Y. Wang)
- Chapter Eight. The Federally Funded American Dream: Public Housing and the New Deal (Elizabeth Milnarik and Jenice L. View)
- Chapter Nine. Hollywood or History? The Grapes of Wrath (1940) (Scott L. Roberts and Charles Elfer)
- Chapter Ten. The New New Deal: Teaching a People’s History of the New Deal (Adam Sanchez)
- Chapter Eleven. Beyond the New Deal: Historiography and Pedagogy in the Classroom (Matthew Campbell)
- Chapter Twelve. Resources and Lesson Plans (Whitney G. Blankenship, Caroline R. Pryor and Amy Wilkinson)
- Appendix A
- Appendix B
An Overview: Teaching the New Deal, 1932–1941
ANDREA GUIDEN PITTMAN AND JENICE L. VIEW
This text, Teaching the New Deal, 1932–1941, is an installment in the series Teaching Critical Themes in American History Series: Pedagogies of the Common Core Standards and College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework. It could well be subtitled, Rethinking Capitalism as this book addresses social, economic, and political elements of federal New Deal programs in response to the Great Depression. During the Great Depression, at least one-fourth of Americans were jobless and living in poverty. Accelerated by the October 1929 crash of the U.S. stock market, the Depression represented a broken promise to white, native-born, Protestant Americans: the promise of sustained economic strength and opportunities in contrast to the arguments offered by socialist and communist regimes in Europe. It also inflamed popular critiques of industrial capitalism and the role of the federal government in shaping and sustaining American capitalism. Considering the nation’s long history of arguing for a more equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth (e.g. Reconstruction Era, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), and the Women’s Suffrage Movement) and the subsequent collapse of the global economy, this America was a generation of farmers, sharecroppers, industrial workers, and homemakers who were ←vii | viii→willing to challenge politicians in leadership and demand that the government reform the economic structure to serve the working and middle classes, as well as the wealthy. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal offered such a promise through the implementation of projects and programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Works Progress Administration (WPA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The New Deal fundamentally altered the size and scope of the federal government as well as its role in the U.S. economy.
The legacies of the New Deal inform much of the public debate of the early 21st century regarding wealth inequalities, the role of the federal government in the economy, tax policies, land use, and labor rights, and are, therefore, relevant for classroom examination. To some, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was a class traitor who overextended his political reach by developing and implementing federal based programs that supplied unearned handouts to those in need. To others, he was a coward who did not do enough to help the less fortunate. This text aims to consider myriad perceptions of FDR and the New Deal in American history. Written with teachers in mind, each chapter introduces content that both addresses and disrupts master narratives concerning the historical significance of the New Deal era, while offering a creative pedagogical approach to reconciling instructional challenges of teaching the New Deal. Specifically, the text offers teachers a variety of ways to engage middle and high school students in the social, economic, and political arguments about American capitalism and the role of the federal government in defining and sustaining capitalism, as sparked by President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. We aim to supply teachers with disciplinary content on teaching the New Deal Era of American history, including primary source documents, and ideas on how to teach that content while addressing Common Core and National Council for the Social Studies Curriculum Standards (NCSS) and the C3 Framework. Each chapter represents a key critical themes/problem in rethinking the New Deal.
The narrative of the United States is incomplete without the voices of the people who were foundational in any given period, event, or organization in history. It is, therefore, essential to include the stories and perspectives of diverse people and communities in the telling of the story of American wealth and progress. The authors considered the pedagogical challenges of teaching the topics while addressing a wide range of political and economic perspectives and have taken special effort to include the voices of significant actors in the historical analysis essays, including women, Indigenous/Native, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community, and people of color (e.g., African-descended, Latinx, and Asian-Pacific Islander).
The chapters in this text are just as textured and layered as the authors who wrote them. And while each chapter and its accompanying lesson plan is unique, ←viii | ix→they encompass at least one of four discrete themes. A prominent theme found in the text is the influence of New Deal policies on civil rights efforts. Centering the Black experience as the nexus of the New Deal, Cook and Eargle in “Centering the Black Experience in Teaching the New Deal” share how the experiential lens of Blacks contributes to their collective understanding of how public policies are both shaped and limited by the ideas and beliefs of those constructing and implementing those policies. They offer a poignant challenge to the American ethos that capitalism equates democracy, and thoughtfully guide teachers in considering this lens in their work with students. Levya, in “Years of Desperation, Years of Hope: The New Deal on the Border” considers the plight of Mexican-Americans who faced the dual challenges of racial and ethnic discrimination and anti-immigrant sentiment. Using El Paso, Texas as a case study, Levya explores the complex history of Mexican-Americans during the Great Depression, particularly the identity politics among ex-patriates and immigrants. Milnarik and View, in “The Federally Funded American Dream: The Public Housing and The New Deal,” examine the federal government’s entry into the housing market following several decades of private philanthropic efforts to address the failures of private housing markets to provide clean, and safe housing for poor people. In this chapter, New Deal efforts are complicated by the persistence of local and federal racial biases in serving all poor people.
Another theme found in the text is the significance of public-recollection of historical events as depicted through the arts. In the use of the pedagogical strategy that encourages the use of multimedia formats to engage students and bolster student learning, Roberts and Elfer, in Hollywood or History, use the award-winning film, The Grapes of Wrath (1940) to explore the intersection of Hollywood and historical facts by considering how pictorial representations of historical events in motion pictures both inform and shape public memory of social and political events. They also lead teachers in supporting students in the discovery of fact versus fiction by using primary and secondary sources as evidence to determine the accuracies and inaccuracies of select Hollywood film productions. In similar fashion, Sanchez, in “The New New Deal: Teaching a People’s History of the New Deal,” identifies the striking similarities between FDR’s campaign promise of a “new deal” and President Barack Obama’s 2008 “change you can believe in” motto. Sanchez begins the chapter by referencing an op-ed featured in The New York Times that teases, “Franklin Delano Obama?” To support his narrative, Sanchez supplies teachers with a meticulous guide for taking their students on a journey that compares and contrasts the rhetoric and ideals of political figures of the past with those of the present-day. View in “Stepping into the New Deal: A Meet and Greet,” introduces teachers and students to an eclectic mix of 32 workers, activists, artists, and community figures who experienced and helped shaped New Deal policies at the local, state, and national levels. Her compelling narrative ←ix | x→provokes curiosity about specific people who were alive and active during the Great Depression and the New Deal era.
Authors throughout the text also examine the complexity of the relationship between FDR and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt. While this theme is addressed in multiple chapters, Bickford in “When Change Confronts Continuity: The Roosevelts’ Battles Over Civil Rights,” notes the seemingly vast differences in the respective Roosevelts’ political ideology, particularly the competing priorities between antilynching legislation and capitalism. A stated goal of the chapter and its accompanying lesson is to position students to explore history and consider how bargains to solidify capitalism might have compromised the security and safety of Black citizens. Wang, in “President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Revered President or Overt Racist?,” also challenges teachers and students to take a closer look at the purported heroes, villains, and martyrs of historical narratives by exploring the myriad perceptions of FDR—the man and the political figure. The title is intentionally provocative to invite teachers and students to consider a non-binary conclusion where, perhaps, FDR was both a revered president and an overt racist.
Finally, the authors examine the lives of marginalized groups during the New Deal era, as the land and labor of all U.S. citizens were impacted by the economic collapse brought by the Great Depression. Guiden Pittman, in “LGBTQIA+ Figures and the New Deal” highlights the role of select LGBTQIA+ leaders and thinkers in the New Deal era and provides an investigation into aspects of their lives that have not been covered in mainstream secondary school textbooks. Gram, in “Teaching the Indian New Deal,” explores dramatic changes in federal policy toward Indigenous/Native/American Indian communities during the New Deal era that reversed much of the prior 50 years of assimilation policies.
Teachers should keep in mind while using this text and the accompanying primary sources that the New Deal redefined government intervention oftentimes along racial, ethnic, and gendered ideals as evidenced by the ways in which relief was administered and the recipients thereof. As such, it presents teachers with the challenges similar to the teaching of “hard history” described by the Teaching Hard History Framework (n.d.) for teaching elementary students about American slavery:
Teaching about slavery, especially to children, challenges educators … especially white teachers [who] shrink from telling about oppression … They worry about making black students feel ashamed, Latinx and Asian students feel excluded and white students feel guilty. Slavery is hard to teach about for all these reasons—and because its legacy of racism and white supremacy is still with us … We want to provide young children with ←x | xi→heroes and hope. It’s easier to cement slavery firmly in the past and tell a story of triumph over evil … Our omissions speak as loudly as what we choose to include. (p. 4)
In many of this book’s chapters, authors explore the legacies of slavery, racism and white supremacy that were very much alive during the New Deal. President Franklin Roosevelt was a white wealthy man of his time, providing secondary school students with a great deal of complexity to explore and debate. Teachers should be prepared to examine both the perceived positive and negative effects of the New Deal before exploring them with students. In Chapter Twelve, Campbell offers historiography and major shifts in the ideas about the New Deal. His purpose is to develop a greater understanding of the changing perceptions about the New Deal that are important for students to understand, and equally significant to how we think about the New Deal today. It is our hope that this text deepens teachers’ understanding of historical inquiry and results in students who are eager and prepared to engage critical themes in American history.
A note on language usage: Race is a social construct that artificially separates humans into “races.” Yet, racism is also a social construct that creates “whiteness” and intentionally (sometimes violently) reserves the assets of society to lighter-skinned people. We refer collectively to Indigenous/Native, Black, Latinx, and Asian Pacific Islanders as People of Color, a flat and inadequate way to define darker-skinned people in the U.S. who have been negatively impacted by structural racism. We intentionally use Black as an inclusive term to refer to anyone with ancestry in the African diaspora, including the continent of Africa, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. We only use African American, Negro, colored, and black when citing others who explicitly use this terminology, or when referring only to African-descended people from the United States. Latinx is a gender-neutral way to refer to the widely diverse people from the Caribbean, Central and South America; similarly, we only use Hispanic when citing others.
Teaching Hard History: Grades K-5 (n.d.). A framework for teaching American slavery. Teaching Tolerance, retrieved on July 2, 2020 from https://www.tolerance.org/frameworks/teaching-hard-history/american-slavery/k-5-framework?utm_source=fact-sheet-resources-link&utm_medium=pdf&utm_campaign=2019-thh-launch
- XII, 238
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- Publication date
- 2021 (December)
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2022. XII, 238 pp., 1 b/w ill., 6 tables.