The Great Depression was the worst economic down turn in history, with its effects being felt worldwide. We often learn about the causes of the Great Depression, but dont learn how certain new aspects during this time completely changed the way Americans lived. Through new policies, ideas, people, and events, the Great Depression shaped and formed a new idea of American culture that can still be felt today, especially in childrens culture, family life, and the radio. At the beginning of the depression the nation saw little aid from the fiscally conservative government led by Herbert Hoover. It wasnt until Franklin D. Roosevelt was put into office that Americans began to feel a sense of aid from his New Deal.
Children during the Great Depression were seen as the most vulnerable group both economically and psychologically. Americas youth during this time had to grow up fast, were discouraged and found the responsibilities of adults now on them. Thousands of schools began cutting back hours or closing their doors all together, leaving a million school aged kids no access to education. Despite schools closing countless children left school anyways in hopes of finding jobs to help their families, but ultimately ended up empty handed.
In fact, teens during the Great Depression suffered the highest jobless rate of any age group. Policies in the New Deal represented the first time the federal government assisted in childrens lives. The New Deal provided the nations first free school lunch program, established the first federally funded work study programs, and provided over 7 million jobs for Americas youth through the National Youth Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Federal Emergency Relief Act also provided federal aid to the education program in attempt to prevent more schools from closing.
All of these New Deal programs were extremely beneficial however, perhaps the most import New Deal innovation was the Aid to Dependent Children, which is discussed later. Even though children were going through one of the hardest times out of the population, they still found ways to be kids through films, radio, and various programs. Childrens culture was impacted in a variety of ways, but family life impacted children the most
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