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In the beginning of the novel, Scout says that they had recently been told "they had nothing to fear but fear itself." This line came from Franklin Roosevelt's first Inaugural Address, which he gave in 1933. So you can assume that the story takes place right around 1933 or 1934. This was right at the height of the Great Depression, which factors into a lot of the plotline in the story (like how people have to pay Atticus with food instead of money sometimes).
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