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New Deal/Great Society

Grades 9-10 | Argumentative | Source-Based

Source Lexile®: 1040L-1080L

Learning Standards




Prompt: Today you will study sources about the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the programs for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.


Write an argumentative essay that supports or refutes the idea that the Great Society was an extension of the New Deal programs. Use information from the sources provided to support your claim.




Source 1





Source 2

Major New Deal Programs During the Great Depression


The Great Depression (1929-1939) was the largest and most significant economic depression to affect not only America but also the world. The Stock Market Crash on October 29, 1929 is cited as the beginning of the Great Depression. Herbert Hoover was president when the Crash occurred but felt that the government should not become overly involved in helping individuals dealing with economic troubles. However, this changed with the election of Franklin Roosevelt. He worked to create numerous programs through his New Deal to help those affected worst by the Depression. Following are the top ten programs of the New Deal.


  1. CCC - Civilian Conservation Corps
    The Civilian Conservation Corps was created in 1933 by Franklin D. Roosevelt to combat unemployment. This work relief program had the desired effect and provided jobs for many Americans. The CCC was responsible for building many public works and created structures and trails in parks across the nation.
  2. CWA - Civil Works Administration
    The Civil Works Administration was created in 1933 to create jobs for the unemployed. Its focus on high paying jobs in the construction arena resulted in a much greater expense to the federal government than originally anticipated.
  3. FHA - Federal Housing Administration
    The Federal Housing Administration was a government agency created to combat the housing crisis of the Great Depression. The agency was designed to regulate mortgages and housing conditions.
  4. FSA - Federal Security Agency
    The Federal Security Agency established in 1939 had the responsibility for several important government entities. Until it was abolished in 1953, it administered social security, federal education funding, and food and drug safety.
  5. HOLC - Home Owner's Loan Corporation
    The Home Owner's Loan Corporation was created in 1933 to assist in the refinancing of homes. Between 1933 and 1935 one million people received long term loans through the agency that saved their homes from foreclosure.
  6. NIRA - National Industrial Recovery Act
    The National Industrial Recovery Act was designed to bring the interests of working class Americans and business together. Through hearings and government intervention the hope was to balance the needs of all involved in the economy.
  7. PWA - Public Works Administration
    The Public Works Administration was a program created to provide economic stimulus and jobs during the Great Depression. The PWA was designed to create public works and continued until the US ramped up wartime production for World War II.
  8. SSA - Social Security Act
    The Social Security Act was designed to combat the widespread poverty among senior citizens. The government program provided income to retired wage earners. The program has become one of the most popular government programs and is funded by current wage earners and their employers.
  9. TVA - Tennessee Valley Authority
    The Tennessee Valley Authority was established in 1933 to develop the economy in the Tennessee Valley region which had been hit extremely hard by the Great Depression.
  10. WPA - Works Progress Administration The Works Progress Administration was created in 1935. As the largest New Deal Agency, the WPA impacted millions of Americans. It provided jobs across the nation. Because of it, numerous roads, buildings, and other projects were completed.




Source 3







Source 4

Major Great Society Programs in the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidency


Lyndon Baines Johnson moved quickly to establish himself in the office of the Presidency. Despite his conservative voting record in the Senate, Johnson soon reacquainted himself with his liberal roots. LBJ sponsored the largest reform agenda since Roosevelt's New Deal. Johnson tried to complete the unfinished work of JFK's New Frontier. He had eleven months before the election of 1964 to prove to American voters that he deserved a chance to be President in his own right. Two very important pieces of legislation were passed.


  1. The Civil Rights Act

    First, the Civil Rights Bill that JFK promised to sign was passed into law. The Civil Rights Act banned discrimination based on race and gender in employment and ending segregation in all public facilities.

  1. The Economic Opportunity Act

    Johnson also signed the omnibus Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The law created the Office of Economic Opportunity aimed at attacking the roots of American poverty. A Job Corps was established to provide valuable vocational training.

  1. Head Start and VISTA

    Head Start, a preschool program designed to help disadvantaged students arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, was put into place. The Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was set up as a domestic Peace Corps. Schools in impoverished American regions would now receive volunteer teaching attention. Federal funds were sent to struggling communities to attack unemployment and illiteracy.

  1. The Great Society

    As he campaigned in 1964, Johnson declared a "war on poverty." He challenged Americans to build a "Great Society" that eliminated the troubles of the poor. Johnson won a decisive victory over his archconservative Republican opponent Barry Goldwater of Arizona.


Additional legislation that was pushed forward by the Lyndon Johnson presidency were:

  • The Wilderness Protection Act saved 9.1 million acres of forestland from industrial development.
  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided major funding for American public schools.
  • The Voting Rights Act banned literacy tests and other discriminatory methods of denying suffrage to African Americans.
  • Medicare was created to offset the costs of health care for the nation's elderly.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities used public money to fund artists and galleries.
  • The Immigration Act ended discriminatory quotas based on ethnic origin.
  • An Omnibus Housing Act provided funds to construct low-income housing.
  • Congress tightened pollution controls with stronger Air and Water Quality Acts.
  • Standards were raised for safety in consumer products.


Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" by is licensed under CC 4.0 International.








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