Mastering Modern World History

Fifth edition, Palgrave Master Series

by Norman Lowe

Source questions for Part IV: The United States of America

Chapter 22 - Roosevelt and the New Deal

Read Source A and then answer the questions that follow.

Source A

Recollections of C. B. Baldwin, assistant to Henry Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture in Roosevelt’s administration.

The Agricultural Adjustment Administration came into being shortly after I came to Washington. Its purpose was to increase farm prices, which were pitifully low. All the farmers were in trouble, even the big ones. Pig prices had just gone to hell. They were three, four cents a pound. The farmers were starving to death. It was decided to slaughter pig sows [pregnant pigs]. The AAA decided to pay farmers to kill them and little pigs. You had a similar situation on cotton. Prices were down to four cents a pound and the cost of producing was probably ten. So a programme was initiated to plough up cotton. A third of the crop, if I remember. Cotton prices went up to ten cents, maybe eleven.

Source:  quoted in Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (Longman, 1996 edition).

(a) What can be learnt from Source A about the thinking behind the attempts of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to tackle the problems facing farmers in the USA in 1933?

(b) Explain why the National Industrial Recovery Act was passed in 1933, and why it was criticized by some employers.

(c) How far, by 1941, had the New Deal brought about economic recovery in the USA?

Chapter 23 - The Struggle for Civil Rights

Study the Sources and then answer the questions that follow.

Source A

Extract from a book by Martin Luther King, published in 1959.

We are often too loud and too boisterous, and spend far too much on drink. Even the most poverty-stricken among us can purchase a ten-cent bar of soap; even the most uneducated among us can have high morals. By improving our standards, we will go a long way towards breaking down the arguments of those who are in favour of segregation.

The other part of our programme must be non-violent resistance to all forms of racial injustice, even when this means going to jail; and bold action to end the demoralization caused by the legacy of slavery and segregation, inferior schools, slums and second-class citizenship. A new frontal assault on the poverty, disease and ignorance of a people too long ignored by America’s conscience will make victory more certain.

Source:  Martin Luther King, Stride towards Freedom (Harper & Row, 1979 edition).

Source B

Extract from a speech by Malcolm X, the Black Muslim civil rights leader, in 1964.

There’s no such thing as a non-violent revolution; revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise; revolution overturns and destroys anything that gets in its way. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare. Our goal is complete freedom, complete equality, by any means necessary.                                                                                 

Source:  quoted in George Breitmann, Malcolm X Speaks (Grove Press, 1966).

(a) In what ways do these sources, both by black civil rights leaders, show the differences in attitude of the campaigners?

(b) What reasons can you suggest for these differences?

(c) Why had the Civil Rights Movement achieved only limited success by 1968?