Master Syllabus
U.S. History 2341
Depression Era

The purpose of the History Department is threefold. First we provide excellent instruction in the discipline of history. Second, we provide each student with six semester hours of U.S. History instruction to meet the requirements of the Texas Education Code (51.303). Third, we provide history majors with fifteen semester hours of history instruction to prepare them to successfully pursue a bachelor's or higher degree in history at a four-year college or university.


Course Description: A survey of the political, economic, social and cultural events of the Twenties and Thirties in the United States.

SCANS Competencies: None required, but students will need good reading, writing and study skills to succeed in this course.  Students will be expected to read about 400 pages of textbook, and may be obliged to read an outside book.  Students will have to write essays and book reports, and will be expected to observe decent English grammar and spelling rules.  Although students will be told when tests will take place and be given detailed learning objectives to facilitate study, students will be expected to study information in detail to prepare for the tests.

Instructional Methodology: Depends on the format the student is taking.

Course Rationale: The Texas legislature requires students to take 6 hours of American history to graduate from an institution of higher learning in Texas.  This course helps fulfill that requirement.  Students taking History 2341 Depression America can expect to improve their reading and writing competencies, critical thinking skills, research skills, etc., all of which help students better succeed in life outside academia.

Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes: upon completion of the A.A. degree in History students will be able to:

1. Use critical thinking in the analysis of historical facts
2. Demonstrate civic awareness in the appraisal of historical contexts
3. Demonstrate cultural awareness in the assessment of historical situations

Course-Level Student Learning Outcomes: upon completion of this course students will be able to:
1. Use critical thinking in the analysis of historical facts
2. Demonstrate civic awareness in the appraisal of historical contexts
3. Demonstrate cultural awareness in the assessment of historical situations

Common Course Objectives: After completing History 2341 - Depression America, 1929-1941, students should be able to:

1. Identify the major economic reversals/depressions throughout American history and place the "Great Depression" of 1929-1941 within this greater perspective.

2. Explain the seeming cyclicality of American history in domestic affairs, identifying major examples of both "liberal/public purpose" and "conservative/private interest" periods as well as the causes of such cycles.

3. Explain how the boom economy of the 1920s, despite the belief that prosperity was both inevitable and perpetual, contained the seeds of its own collapse.

4. Enumerate and describe the major, albeit submerged, weaknesses of the "New Economy" of the 1920s.

5. Identify and evaluate the major conflicting explanations for the onset of the Great Depression.

6. Identify and describe the magnitude of the economic collapse using such factors as stock values, bank failures, home and business foreclosures, production and consumption levels, unemployment, deflation, etc.

7. Describe President Herbert Hoover's response to the constantly-deepening depression, being certain to specify steps taken, steps he refused to take, and the perceived effectiveness of these responses.

8. Evaluate the contention that Herbert Hoover became both "the forgotten progressive" and the country's scapegoat for the Great Depression.

9. Demonstrate how the rise to dominance of Democrats during the depression era represented an enduring realignment of the national political system.

10. Identify and describe the major legislative achievements/program initiatives of the New Deal, demonstrating how collectively they represented a greatly changed view the federal government's role in American life.

11. Identify and describe the "radical" political alternatives to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal that proliferated in the United States during the 1930s.

12. Assess the overall ideological position of the New Deal given both the environment of the depression and radical alternatives which existed on both the right and the left.

13. Describe the phenomenal role Texas Democrats played in the Roosevelt administration and New Deal program, identifying specific individuals and the offices that they held.

14. Identifying specific programs and projects, describe the New Deal's impact on depression conditions in Austin and Central Texas.

15. Describe the legal challenges the Supreme Court laid down to the New Deal program  as well as its eventual acceptance of the governmental revolution.

16. Identify the various factors that brought Franklin Roosevelt's dominance of the political scene and the New Deal to an end as the 1930s drew to a close.

17. Assess the New Deal's impact on the Democratic party in Texas and explain why and how changes at the federal level resurrected a heretofore moribund Republican party in the Lone Star State.

18. Evaluate Franklin Roosevelt's effectiveness in reversing the economic collapse.

19. Explain how the onset of World War II, rather than the New Deal, brought the Great Depression to an end.

20. Identify the impact of the Depression experience on the role of the government in economic activities, the distribution of power between branches of the federal government, federal-state relations, as well as the legitimacy and power of organized labor.

Syllabi requirements are found HERE.