Segments in this Video

Beginning of the Welfare State (03:33)


In 1932 during the Depression men who had fought in WWI went to Washington D.C. to demand early payment of a promised bonus. President Hoover was not sympathetic to these victims of economic collapse but FDR's New Deal was soon to come.

The Way to Better Times (02:38)

The government made films in the 1930s to show how they were offering people a helping hand during the Great Depression. These films show what the social engineers of the New Deal thought they were doing.

National Recovery Administration (02:01)

One of the recovery efforts during the Depression was NRA. It got industries to adopt codes of fair competition. Henry Ford called it creeping socialism but there was an implication that those who didn't join didn't care about victims of economic collapse.

Works Progress Administration (02:29)

By 1935 it was clear that the private sector could not create enough jobs. WPA was formed to make the government itself the employer of last resort. Despite the critics it went on for 8 years and during that time used films to extol its accomplishments.

New Deal Homestead Program (02:53)

in the 1930s the federal government was concerned with jobs as well as the fabric of family life. FDR publicly asked that foreclosures be delayed and homestead programs moved families from "depression towns" to farm homes near cities.

Opponents of the New Deal (03:12)

As the Depression wore on detractors pointed out the contradiction of FDR's New Deal. How much could and should government do for the general welfare of its people? In a mighty blow to President Roosevelt the NRA was declared unconstitutional.

Public Benefits as a Right (03:15)

New Deal planners introduced programs aimed at helping when times got tough in the future. NYA gave part time jobs along with the first student loans. Social Security taxed both employers and workers to provide benefits for the elderly.

Government Programs Grow (03:46)

As New Deal programs became more sophisticated so did the government made films explaining them. FDR won a second term in 1936. One film enticed Americans to participate in federally financed home loans to revive the basic housing industry.

Promoting General Welfare on Film (05:00)

The first government made movies were basic instructional films about government programs, but in time their subject matter broadened and included advice on many aspects of living. Subjects included nutrition, economy, and laws.

Know Your Money (04:00)

With money hard to come by and the mania for it sweeping the nation the federal government used films to inform people about opportunities as well as schemes.

Civilian Conservation Corp (06:31)

Emergency work programs were meant to provide relief temporarily until the private sector got back on its feet, but by 1937 one third of the nation was still dependant on government help. The CCC was one of the most successful ventures of the New Deal.

Limited Options During the Depression (04:13)

The Civilian Conservation Corp was only for men and closely resembled the Army. Former members of the CCC talk about why they joined. Some joined for adventure while others had no other way to earn an income.

Civilian Conservation Corp Reunion (03:04)

More than two million men joined the CCC where they got a strong sense of camaraderie and contributing to the common good. For many it was a way out of trouble that helped them support their families back home.

Civilian Conservation Corp Life and Work (04:32)

Most members of the CCC were city kids but there projects were often in wilderness areas. Work was planned for them by the National Parks Dept. and the Forest Service. The government used films to teach them how to care for themselves.

Transformation of American Life (02:24)

For some the trials and tribulations of the Great Depression led to travel and maturity. World War II finally restored prosperity not the New Deal. It also sealed big government's place in the lives of Americans.

The Helping Hand - Credits (00:60)

The Helping Hand - Credits

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The Helping Hand

Part of the Series : A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
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In 1932, the United States had almost no provision by which the federal government could offer a helping hand to the victims of economic collapse. But with a staggering number of Americans out of work, soup kitchens and private charities were simply overwhelmed. Enter Franklin D. Roosevelt—a leader ready to act, armed with a New Deal for the country. Bill Moyers explores America’s Depression-era shift to the left in this video. He shows how the rapid growth of government made Washington the center for the nation’s recovery and a purveyor of hope to millions. It was the beginning of the welfare state—American style. (55 minutes)

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL42068

ISBN: 978-1-62102-062-2

Copyright date: ©1984

Closed Captioned

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