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A Changing Nation 1934 – 1936

new deal

IN THE spring of 1933, as the New Deal roared into action, business began to get better, but it dropped again and as 1933 ended and a new year began, even the most optimistic New Dealer had to admit that the depression was still on. During 1934, the government took further steps to regulate banking and finance‚ but some Americans were dissatisfied. Businessman complained that the government was making it harder to do business. In spite of all the excitement, the NRA was not working out well. The farmers were complaining that prices of farm products were still too low. Some farmers went on strike, refusing to take their crops to market. In the West, there was even violence as bands of farmers overturned trucks on highways to keep them from carrying farm products to the cities. Other farmers refused to let their neighbours’ farms be sold at auction. Surrounding the auctioneer, they would force him to sell the farm for a few cents and they would then give it back to its owner. Nature itself was working against the farmers. A long drought was creating a great Dust Bowl in the states of the Great Plains — in Oklahoma, the Dakotas, parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Texas. As month after month went by with no rain, the wind stirred up dust storms that darkened the sky. The helpless farmers watched their soil blow away, leaving a wasteland where once there had been fertile acres. Thousands of families were forced to give up their farms. Packing their belongings into rattling, broken-down cars, they set out for California. There they looked for work picking fruit and vegetables in the vast fields. Called “Okies”–because so many of them came from Oklahoma — they became a problem in themselves. The owners of the …

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