In the 1930's, the period of the Great Depression, life was desperate. Twenty-five per cent of the workforce were unemployed, homes and cars that were purchased on credit were lost, and many people lost their investments in the stock market crash of 1929, known as "Black Tuesday." Some even committed suicide. Others had to live in automobiles or makeshift homes fashioned from scrap metals. These little towns that formed from such makeshift homes were called "Hoovervilles" after the president who misjudged the effects of the stock market crash of 1929.
Another disaster struck in the 1930's: The Dust Bowl. After generations of farming in the Great Plains in which much of the top-soil was lost, and over-farming as men planted great quantities of wheat for the food supply for World War I, which removed grassland that held down the nutritious soil, there was an environmental cataclysm that took place. Massive dust-clouds formed and cattle died from consuming such dust. There was a severe drought and no crops could be grown. Therefore, farmers from Oklahoma, Kansas, and surrounding areas fought, but many lost their farms. As a result, they migrated to California in the hope of finding jobs. Many men left their families behind as they searched for work.
After Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected, there were a number of programs effected that helped to assist people. These were part of the New Deal; one of these was the WPA (the Works Progress Administration) which employed many people in making various libraries, constructing works of art, and building huge projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Hoover Dam. These valuable projects employed hundreds of men and brought water and electricity to many who had not had these resources before.
The Civil Conservation Corps was another program that helped men get back to work:
Roosevelt proposed to recruit thousands of unemployed young men, enlist them in a peacetime army, and send them to battle the erosion and destruction of the nation’s natural resources.
More than any other New Deal agency, this program was considered to be a reflection of Roosevelt’s personal philosophy.