Last Updated 31 Jan 2023

A History of Dust Bowl in the United States of America

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The Dust Bowl is the name given to the Great Plains of the United States during the 1930s. This is due to the dry conditions and lose topsoil that wind would blow around. This period had many severe dust storms that caused great damage to United States agriculture. The droughts caused the soil to dry up. The soil had been used for farming for quite some times, so it was loose. This caused it all to be blown away during the storms. The dust storms sometimes would blow from the Midwest to the east coast and even reach Washington DC.

The area directly affected by the drought and that would be known as the Dust Bowl stretched from Oklahoma to Texas to Colorado to Kansas. This caused many hardships for the people living there. Hundreds of thousands of families abandoned their homes and fled. These people would be known as "Okies" even when not from Oklahoma. The Dust Bowl put people in terrible situations. The United States Government under Franklin Roosevelt tried to provide assistance to these residences of the Dust Bowl. Though the government provided assistance it was not enough and many families were forced to move and start new lives.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932 as the 32nd president of the United States of America. He ran on the promise of a New Deal for United Sates. Being elected at the beginning of the Dust Bowl meant his New Deal would soon face the problem of drought, the people of the plains, and the Dust Bowl itself. The Great Depression was in full swing and the country was facing the hardest times yet. The tensions in Europe were rising, the world was in an economic depression, and the Great Plains was blowing away. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal would have to deliver what he promised to the people. Roosevelt soon made it known that the government supported the people. Roosevelt's New Deal provided much assistance to the people. This included the Civil Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.

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The Civil Conservation Corps was a very successful program of the New Deal. This helped combat the problem of unemployment. The Civil Conservation Corps helped create three million jobs. These men dug ditches, built reservoirs, and planted trees all while being paid by the government. The Works Progress Administration was the main work program. This gave jobs to nearly nine million people. These people built bridges, roads, building, parks, and much more. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration gave money to the states to help with unemployment caused by the Great Depression. Though these programs helped many people from the Dust Bowl, the Agricultural Adjustment Act was perhaps the most important for the Great Plains farmers.

The Agricultural Adjustment Act subsidized farmers. This helped incentivize the farmers to produce less crops. The Act also created loans for farmers facing bankruptcy. The Act was supposed to help farmers reach their production levels from before the depression. During and after World War I, American farmers produced much of the world's food supply. Then as the European nations recovered and the Great Depression started, farmers demand began to drop, while they continued to produce the product. This coupled with the Dust Bowl led to hard times for the farmers. The Agricultural Adjustment Act was made to help farmers survive the tough times.

The New Deal and Franklin Roosevelt also created the Resettlement Administration to help Dust Bowl farmers. This helped those who could not get loans, get the money to buy food and clothing, and farming supplies. These programs helped the people in which the Dust Bowl affected, but though the financial aid was there, it was not enough to help all families. Many Dust Bowl residents still did not have enough income to meet their needs. Any became bankrupt and were forced to move to places such as California.

Many Dust Bowl farmers moved to cities and began to work for the programs created by Roosevelt's New Deal. Many farms decreased in size, and states such as Kansas saw large drops in population. The farmers who owned the land tended to stay, whereas tenant farmers and farmers who did not own the land tended to move.

Franklin Roosevelt also helped to try to prevent another Dust Bowl from happening. He create the Soil Erosion Service. The Soil Erosion Service along with the Civil Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration planted many trees and helped create wind breaks across the Duct Bowl. They also helped employ new farming techniques and irrigation as to help prevent such a catastrophe from happening again.

These new agencies helped many farmers regain their lives, but did not completely help the majority of these affected by the Dust Bowl. Many farmers remained poor despite the aid. Franklin Roosevelt created the programs to help, but they were not enough. More assistance was needed for those devastated by the Dust Bowl. Many people were forced to leave their homes and move away because they simply could not afford food and necessities. More assistance would have helped more people.

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