The Depression was an unprecedented and (thus far) unequaled crisis in American history. But the crisis was more than economic. As we emphasize in this unit, it challenged Americans’ beliefs about their nation and themselves. As your students will read in the “So What” section the Depression rocked fundamental beliefs about opportunity, hard work, and success. And, as we introduce in the “Summary and Analysis” section, this ideological challenge led some Americans to consider alternatives ranging from communism to fascism.
You might, therefore, provide an introductory focus for this unit by asking your students what they think about America’s economic stateand their prospects for success within these conditions.