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INVESTIGATE:

Historians agree that Social Security is at the heart of New Deal reform. Given that, what does Social Security tell us about the set of policies and programs called the New Deal? (Read each source below, then answer the questions in the notebook. Ask your teacher for an inquiry organizer worksheet to help you think about the ways that the sources support and contradict each other.)

SOURCES:

READ: Roosevelt Speech

Head Note: President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave this speech on August 14, 1935 when he signed the Social Security Act.

Today a hope of many years’ standing is in large part fulfilled. The civilization of the past hundred years, with its startling industrial changes, has tended … to make life insecure. Young people have come to wonder what would be their lot when they came to old age. The man with a job has wondered how long the job would last.

This social security measure gives at least some protection to thirty millions of our citizens who will reap direct benefits through unemployment compensation, through old-age pensions and through increased services for the protection of children and the prevention of ill health.

We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.

This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete. It is a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions. It will act as a protection to future Administrations against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy.... It is, in short, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness....

If the Senate and the House of Representatives in this long and arduous session had done nothing more than pass this Bill, the session would be regarded as historic for all time.

Source: August 14, 1935, excerpt from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech, Washington, D.C.

USE THE NOTEBOOK (instructions):

To answer these questions, log in below

Sourcing: Consider a document's attribution (both its author and how the document came into being).

Who gave this speech and when? Who is the intended audience? How might that influence the content and tone of the speech?

Close Reading: Read carefully to consider what a source says and the language used to say it.

What four programs are included in the Social Security bill? How does Social Security represent FDR's program of "relief, recovery, and reform"? For each of the three words, write one quote or example that illustrates connections.

Corroborating: Check important details across multiple sources to determine points of agreement and disagreement.

How might NAACP representative Houston argue with this speech? Select a line from the speech and explain how Houston might disagree.

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