Comparing Roosevelt's New Deal and Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie

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Comparing Roosevelt's New Deal and Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie Books


Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote many books during her time. She is best known for her Little House on the Prairie books, which were written in the 1930's during the great depression. I will contrast Roosevelt's New Deal with Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie books. The comparison between these two is the fact of how the Little House on the Prairie books did not depend on the government and Roosevelt's New Deal plan and how Laura and her family lived life with little to no help from the government. To start off I am going to give you a brief background on what caused the great depression and how the New Deal came about.

The great depression came about for many different reasons. Some of these reasons are due to the stock market crash of 1929. Most people think that this is what started the great depression but actually it was only part of it. The upper and lower classes played a big role on wages for what was paid between the two different classes. Because of this wage difference it had an impact on the banking system. Also America became know as a credit nation vs. a debtor nation. Which meant that the United States was owed more money by other countries and the United States owed. Another problem that the United States was having is that the whole dollar vs. gold. During the 1930's the United States was still on a gold value system where paper money had no value. With all of these factors and the stock market crash of 1929 was just the final straw that broke the camels back as the saying goes. With the depression going and 1 out of every 4 people not having a job, the country was in serious trouble. Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with the New Deal. The New Deal was also known as Works Progress Administration (WPA). The program put 8,500,000 of Americans back to work. The work consisted of everything from building public parks and a writers program to paying farmers not to plant crops. This is the part of the New Deal that I will be addressing. The Agricultural Adjustment Act also known as AAA. The AAA act came about to stabilize prices and overproduction on farm products such as cotton, wheat, corn, rice, tobacco, hogs and milk.

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For these over productions the government actually paid farmers to not plant crops. By now you are probably wondering how this relates to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books.

Wilder published her Little House on the Prairie books during the great depression about her and her family and how they came over all different types of adversity. Wilder's family came over all of these adversities with little to no help from the government. There have been many examples throughout Laura's family lifetime that the government has either not helped or gone against the Wilder family. A couple of these examples would be when the Wilder family moved onto some land that was just inside Indian Territory. The Wilder family built a log cabin on this Indian Territory and when the government found out, the government made the Wilder family move off of that land. Another reason why the Wilder family had problems with the government is because of the free land that was being given away by the government. The deal with the free land is that the families had to live on the land for five years. Families also had to work the land and be able to grow something on the land. There were also some other conditions that had to be meet before the land could be legally the Wilder's. What the problem was that when Pa and his family first laid claim on their land in South Dakota. The problem was that after the five years Pa went into the claims office to finalize the land the papers were wrong. The papers from when Pa went to first and lay a steak on the land was written wrong and then after the five years when Pa went to go and claim the land he had to prove that Pa was Pa.

These are just a couple of examples why the Wilder family really did not rely on the government but took adversity into there own hands and to make to best out of what life threw at them. Through Laura's books I feel that she demonstrates these different adversities that her family goes through.

Works Cited

Lee, Jonathan. Gupta, Pranav. "The Great Depression and The New Deal". www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/depression/

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House on the Prairie. 1935. Illustrated by Garth Williams in 1953. New York: Harper and Row.


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