What were different views about how to help the poor during the Great Depression? (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.)


READ: Of course We Can Do it!

Head Note: This 1931 advertisement appeared in Literary Digest, a popular weekly magazine. The Presidentís Organization on Unemployment Relief, a government group that helped coordinate President Hooverís response to the Great Depression, wrote the advertisement.

Source: Advertisement from Literary Digest, a weekly magazine, November 21, 1931.

USE THE NOTEBOOK (instructions):

Of Course we can do it!

Below is the text from the bottom of the advertisement.

  • We dug the Panama Canal, didn't we? And they said we couldn't do that.
  • We put and army in France four months after we entered the World War, didn't we? And surprised the world.
  • Now we've got a tough one to crack right here in our own back yard.

Men are out of work. Our men. Our neighbors. Our citizens. Honest, hard-working folk.

They want jobs. They're eager to work. But there aren't jobs enough to go 'round. Somebody's got to tide them over.

Who's going to do it? The people who dug that ditch. The people who went to France, or bought Liberty Bonds, or went without sugar--Mr. and Mrs. John K. American.

That means you--and you--and Y O U!--every one of us who is lucky enough to have a job.

We're going to share our luck with the folks out of work, aren't we? Remember--there's no National fund they can turn to for relief. It's up to us! And we've got to dig deeper than we did last winter.

But if we all dig deep enough we can keep a roof over every head, food in every pantry, fuel on every fire, and warm clothing on every needy man, woman and child in America.

That will beat Old Man Depression and lead the way to better days. Can we do it? Of course we can do it. Give . . . and give generously.

WHERE TO GIVE: There is no National Agency through which you may contribute. The way for you to give is through your local welfare and relief organization, through your Community Chest or through your emergency unemployment committee if you have one.

(Walter S. Gifford) Director

(Owen D. Young) Chairman

The President's Organization on Unemployment Relief is non-political, and non-sectarian. Its purpose is to aid local welfare and relief agencies everywhere to provide for local needs. All facilities for the nation-wide program, including this advertisement, have been furnished to the Committee without cost.


These definitions should help with reading comprehension.

  • Community Chest: local organizations that collected money for charitable projects.


Listen to Historian Mike O'Malley discuss the conditions of poverty in 1931.

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