We Know We Belong to the Land - A Hundred Years of Oklahoma and the Congress
The Depression and the New Deal
Barn covered in sand during the Great Depression
Barn and barren land near Boise City during the Great Depression
Downtown Caddo, OK deserted during the Great Depression
Abandoned farm house in a dust storm during the Great Depression

The Stock Market Crash on October 29, 1929, ushered in an era of depression and despair. Herbert Hoover initiated efforts to halt the slide; these were followed by the more radical policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Only the massive outlays brought on by World War II finally ended the Great Depression. The New Deal's activist approach, however, changed the entire political landscape, shifting more power and responsibility to the federal government. This approach remained the foundation of American government for the balance of the century.

Migrant worker in California with her child
Congress debated, passed, amended, or defeated a host of measures during the 1930s. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and Glass-Steagall Banking Act date from the Hoover administration. The Tennessee Valley Authority, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Public Works Administration, National Recovery Administration, and Civilian Conservation Corps exemplify New Deal attempts at corporate or individual relief. International measures included the Trade Agreements Act of 1934 (establishing the "most favored nations" clause), the Neutrality Act (1935), and military preparation measures of the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Dust storm on the horizon during the Great Depression

Above: An eighteen-year-old mother from Oklahoma, now a California migratory worker, sits with her child in the doorway of a tent in March 1937. The other images here show dust storms and the damage they caused to Oklahoma farms and the economy during the decade dubbed the "Dirty Thirties."

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Copyright © 2007 Carl Albert Center at the University of Oklahoma
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