Essay: Great Depression and Censoring Disorder

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Depression and Censoring

The American of the 1930s was a dual decade; first of the slashing of the American Dream for many Americans, regardless of race or nationality; and then a drastic reworking of the Federal and State governmental system to change and improve things. In the United States, unemployment rose to over 25% and in some countries as high as 33%. Cities that depended on heavy industry were hit hard, construction virtually stopped in many areas. Farming and rural areas suffered between a combination of falling crop prices and poor weather (and, in the United States, the dustbowl issues coming from years of poor agricultural practices). For children, the 1920s and 1930s were particularly painful, but by 1939 and the advent of America's entry into World War II, there had been significant improvements in education, social welfare, and an understanding and vocalization of the problems of childhood and adolescence as advocated by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

History is important to help students understand the past, but not only as singular dates and events, but because we live in the present but have evolved because of the past. History helps us understand ourselves, people, other societies, and events that shape our world. Instead of relying on names and dates -- rote memorization and the bottom level of Bloom's taxonomy, the trend in studying social history brings the story of the common person, the everyman, and the untold millions who have not had their stories told, but have had a tremendous impact on culture and life in both the past and the present.

One such example comes from reading letters and primary accounts of segments of the population that are not always taught in textbooks. For instance, most texts talk about the Great Depression through economic and political paradigms -- how the economy, unemployment, and government changed to adapt to the conditions of the 1930s, and how Franklin Roosevelt's many ideas changed the way people looked at the government and the government responded to the needs of the citizens. We are still impacted by some of those decisions, Social Security for instance. However, the letters that children wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt took the issues of unemployment, hunger, abject poverty, and the lack of medical care from the 30,000-foot view to the personal micro viewpoint. One child, for instance, needed $7.50 to go to the doctor; another wanted $35 to go to college to better themselves. Taken individually, these are requests from real people who have real issues that can reach out through the years and touch the lives of current students.

This type of history is relevant to the classroom because it brings issues of history to life -- it shows modern students that while times have changed, people really have not. It shows them that history is not simply famous people, but made up of everyday people with everyday concerns. Moreover, many scholars believe that one of the reasons that young people do not wish to study history or social studies is that it lacks resonance for them. In particular, the emphasis on the memorization of dates has almost no correlation in learning at the and actually fails to activate a child's temporal understanding of the past, much less their interest. However, when students read primary accounts like letters, documents that show economic facts about arms buildup, government spending, letters from soldiers (Civil War, for example), they see that history is really alive, they find that the stories are relevant and exciting, and the most certainly are able to find commonality with those in the past. Uncovering these ideas, vetting sources, analyzing bias, placing events in chronological order, and understanding causality all contribute to a more historiographical manner of thinking -- both about the past, and the future. This is very important if we wish our young people to become global citizens; and is more of a mindset than a simple set of facts.

Part II -- Censorship has been part of the human experience since people gathered together in communities. The idea of political censorship is designed to keep the public either unaware of certain situations or to use propaganda to influence their viewpoint. For instance, in war, it is often the task of the media to portray the enemy as "the other" or evil so that the population can be… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Great Depression and Censoring Disorder.  (2013, March 22).  Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/great-depression-censoring-disorder/4649041

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