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Did the Depression Change the Class Relationships Essay

Essay Topic:

What is evident is that one of the main effects of the Depression was a change in the structure of some families. "Why do we live like this a child would wonder. Things used to be better. We're not even clean anymore" (McIlvain 381). Of course, these were not merely blue collar families now seeking some sort of relief. "Relief" of course was a sort of government subsidy but it did little, if anything, to improve the emotional impact of joblessness and near-hopelessness. "Being'on relief' stigmatized an entire family but especially the father (379). With millions of men out of work, employed women suffered as well, although, according to McIlvain's quote of John Steinbeck "Woman can change better'n a man"(379). Man, of course, was always perceived as the family's provider and now this was nearly impossible. Marriages were now at a low point, because it made no sense to marry and raise a family when the job prospects looked so bleak. Until some New Deal legislation eased the pressure for all races, if there were problems within the families, white-collar or blue, "black people suffered a disproportionate share of the burden….A group of whites adopted the slogan'No Jobs for Niggers until every white man has a job" (383). If the New Deal accomplished anything it was the beginning of what would culminate in the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s but at the same time, the New Deal laws tended to favor the working class, and maybe for that reason we continue to see the wealthy Americans favor the Republican Party.

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