Evaluate the labor movement and radicalism on the 1930s. How did they influence American political and cultural life?
Also, to what extent were the grim realities of depression reflected in popular culture? To what degree were they absent? Details would be extremely helpful.
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During this time period people worked very hard to make working conditions better. They worked long hours and they worked for little money. There were also many issues concerning immigrants and children in the labor force. This is when labor unions were established but employers did not like this. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 made it mandatory for employers to work with the unions.
Radicalism focuses on the desire to change the structure of society. There were many organizations developed such as labor movements/relief and civil rights movements.
The Depression held a great deal of importance in the 1930's and had a huge impact on popular culture. The 1920's were referred to as the "roaring 20's" and then in the 1930's people had to be very thrifty. Very few people had the money to do fun things, instead they had to struggle to put food on the table for their families.
As far as the second part of your question goes, what I would call popluar culture did not really reflect the grim realities. I think you had some of that in songs like "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" and in books like "Of Mice and Men."
But people can't go around being depressed all the time, even during a depression. In most textbooks, the popular culture of the '30s is described as being pretty light-hearted, to get people's minds off their problems. Movies were quite popular and were often pretty funny or escapist. So you had Marx Brothers movies being very popular. And movies like "Broadway Melody of 1936." And you have songs like "Happy Days are Here Again" and Cole Porter songs like "Putting on the Ritz."
So the popular culture really did not reflect the grim realities -- why immerse yourself in grim reality for fun?
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