Assignment On The Dust Bowl

1520 words - 7 pages

The Dust BowlThe Dust Bowl was one of the worst droughts in history. It took place from 1929-1940 and then from 1946-1956. It affected Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and sections of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico. The tremendous weather ruined many farmers' crops, people's lives, it caused people to migrate to other areas and during this time the depression was going on which hurt the economy.The Dust Bowl took place during the Great Depression while the economy was bad. Many people were out of jobs, money and food. Many of the businesses went bankrupt for reasons such as shortage of supplies and the cost to run things. Even though many farmers did not invest in stock market, the people who did were the consumers of their products. With no buyers of the farm produce and the crops not growing because of the water loss, the farmers had no income and no food to eat. These droughts affected 150,000 square miles of land which caused many people to move to leave their home(Starr).The farmers were affected the most by these tremendous droughts. All of the farmers' crops were ruined and their cattle were being killed one by one by starvation, and some farmers had to kill their cattle for food, and because they had no food to feed them. Once the cattle started to die the farmers were out of produce and meat to eat, and the little meat and crops they had to sell was being ruined by the sand storms. These sands storms were started by wind picking up loose top soil and swirling it around in the air, while it created dust clouds called "Black Blizzards" (Dust Bowl). It actually hurt to breathe because the dust penetrated everything. Young children and older people had the hardest time to breathe during these storms, and the rising temperatures did not help. In 1934 the temperature was over one hundred degrees for 36 consecutive days. The worst year for the farmers was 1935 that year the dust storms were the harshest. Hundreds of millions of tons of soil blew during these storms. To solve these problems the farmers were told to leave their best land and let wild grasses grow on it because it would anchor the soil and prevent the sand and dust from flying all over. Farmers also planted trees and grass; they then plowed in contour patterns to hold rain water. After 1935 the dust storms became more routine and the people learned how to prevent damage and how to take precautions for their health and their property. Many farmers did not stay to hear the helpful information that were given left their land, and when they did so they were called "Exodusters"(Dust Bowl).The migration from the dust storms played a big part in the Dust Bowl. It was said to be the greatest migration in history. Many people migrated but the state that had the most people leave was Oklahoma. The Oklahoma people generally migrated to California and were called Okies. The Okies lived in homesteads in which many generations of progenitors lived without electric or any technology. After the Okies moved California got extremely crowded and the Californian people started complaining that the Okies took up to much space. Since more people were placed in jobs the wages became too low, there were many sanitation problems, and the schools became overcrowded. Despite all of the Okies troubles they still considered themselves land proprietors. The Okies did not want to stay in California because, that as not home to them and they wanted their land back that they always have farmed.Water resources and planning by the government helped bring back the moisture to the west. The Colorado River played a big part in bringing this water to farms. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) one of the agency groups set up by the New Deal helped to build dams and take electricity to rural areas to help the victims keep an upbeat life and make it a little easier for them. In 1937 people started using soil conservation because they wanted their land to stay fertile and when it would rain they wanted to grow the best crops out of any of the other farmers. In 1939 the rain started to fall again. The rain continued through the 1990's getting us out of the Dust Bowl.The depression was a great time for the government to prove itself and create jobs and set laws that would help the people. Although, the government did not know if they should lower prices, or make them higher. The government and other agencies decided to pay the farmers to give up their land and take advice from them. The farmers were reluctant and most of them said no and kept their land. In the long run the farmers who first said no ended up leaving their land anyway. The government also tried to help to solve the drought problem for the Dust Bowl. They set up the New Deal program, which created jobs to keep people motivated, agencies to help relieve the people of drought and depression. They also created the soil conservation service, and a flood control service. Some of there other programs were the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the (TVA) this provided 2.5 million young men with jobs (Burg 116). The government knew that the only way to get out of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl was to set laws and examples for the people. There were 3 laws passed to help bring the moisture back to the Great Plains. One of the laws was that you could not plow until spring so the soil would be compacted together. Strip cropping was another law passed. It involved contour plows and hay in the fields to hold the soil together. You also had to help soil conservation by saving as much moisture as you could and keeping the minerals in the soil.The government employed artist, musicians, writers, photographers, and dancers in new programs to get people in to jobs. Therefore the culture of the Dust Bowl time was very widespread from plays to songs and photographs. There were ninety eight photographers for the Farmers Service Agency (FSA) first was Walter Evans then Dorthea Lange. Dorthea Lange was the most popular photographer because she photographed people and how they lived(Cook). Many of her photographs are world famous and she is known to capture the tortured and depressed looks on their faces. During this time the FSA's job was to inform people of the victims of the Dust Bowl. They tried to help the people who lost a lot in the Dust Bowl. Many photos were taken during this time of the Dust Bowl. An estimated one hundred seven thousand black and white photos and one hundred sixty four thousand black and white negatives also one thousand six hundred ten color transparencies (Linda). The office of war information hired people to document what was going on, and how the people were handling all the events that were going on and how they were copping with the drought and depression. Another important person was Woody Guthrie who was a refugee in the Dust Bowl sang ballads about what was going on. He was known as one of the best singers of all time. A famous author during the Dust Bowl years was John Steinbeck who wrote "The Grapes of Wraith", "Tortilla Flat", "Of Mice and Men", and "In Dubious Battle" all of which were about the people of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl(Joseph F).All of these aspects played a big role in the recovery of the Great Plains. The storms went on until 1941. During the next couple of years everyone finally got the moisture they needed and the drought was over. Dorthea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and Walter Evans made a big impact by being influences to those who thought they could not survive. The crops and the farmers recovered and the Great Plains finally got a break; and even though all the dead cattle and lives that were lost in the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl was a great tragedy, our economy and the lives of millions moved on. The droughts of the Dust Bowl were close to the worst if not the worst droughts ever to take place in the history of our nation. The economy, crops, government, and the people of our nation were down but they did not give up. They made a good effort in stopping the tremendous weather and unfortunate events that happened during the Dust Bowl era. They rebuilt what was ruined and got on with their lives with higher spirits than ever.


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