The Great Depression and The New Deal


Essential Questions

  • What should be the role of government in solving a national crisis?
  • How effective were the responses of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration to the problems of the Great Depression?


  • Write a Document Based Essay that demonstrates proper writing skills.
  • Critically analyze primary source documents to explore the role of government during a national crisis.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of how FDR politically and economically approached the vast problems of the Great Depression.
  • Develop an understanding of the New Deal and be able to discuss both positive aspects and criticisms of this plan.



Teach the students how you expect them to write the DBQ essay. Use the attached list of guidelines. (Writing a Document Based Essay: A 10 Step Approach) and hand out the Document Based Essay: A 10 Step Approach

Teach through the Historical Context, Directions and Task (attached) for the DBQ and model how students should get started with this task. Break down each of the ten steps so they see what is expected.

Have them write their thesis paragraph in class in groups of three and swap papers to look for the three guiding principles:

  • Did you take a position?
  • Did you offer an interpretation of the question?
  • Did you offer organizing or controlling ideas which will form the paragraphs of the body?
  • Have them complete the rest of the work on the essay at home

Additional Activity

Have the students create Document Based Essay. Use the attached list of directions (Creating a Document Based Essay) as a guideline to develop their own DBQ.