Confronting Southern Poverty in the Great Depression: ..
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Confronting southern poverty in the great depression essay; ..
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One of the most devastating effects of the Great Depression is the fact that many Americans found the ideological and cultural rug "pulled out from under their feet." As such, the pervasive catastrophe of the Great Depression challenged, if not in fact refuted, various values and beliefs that presumably inform "the American dream," not the least of which is the notion of "material success," as modeled most memorably by Ben Franklin, which holds that industry and frugality will inevitably lead to material prosperity. The consequences of such a personally and nationally debilitating catastrophe often involved a sense of shame, guilt, insecurity, despair, and desperation, which, in turn, often let to violence, whether internalized or externally "ventilated." On the other hand, the Great Depression led to a sense of cooperation, "togetherness," sharing, and resourcefulness. Whether or not history does, in fact, repeat itself, the precipitating and destabilizing causes of the Great Depression and the resulting traumatic effects seem strikingly and uneasily familiar in current American life. Aside from the tragic aftermath of the most recent hurricane season and the most severe drought in the American Southwest since the "dust bowl days," there is a pervasive anxiety in American society regarding health and retirement benefits, economic outsourcing and downsizing, the impending collapse/bankruptcy of the American automotive industry, poverty, homelessness, a deteriorating trust in government, and the escalating cost of higher education even though recent college graduates can expect to earn less than their parents, who, in some cases, due to pressing and unexpected economic exigencies, may find themselves working part-time at McDonalds or WalMart.
SocioSite: SOCIAL INEQUALITY AND CLASS
David Carlton and Peter A. Coclanis, eds., Confronting Southern Poverty in the Great Depression: "The Report on Economic Conditions of the South" with Related Documents