Objectives—Students will:

  • Examine the effects of the Great Depression using a Fireside Chat of FDR sources.
  • Explore the connection between domestic and international events.


FDR’s Fireside Chat, September 6, 1936


FDR’s Fireside Chat, September 6, 1936

In the Classroom

1. Focus Question
Write the question “Was the Great Depression a threat to American democracy?” on the board or overhead.

2. Examining the Great Depression
Divide the class into groups of two or three students and give a handout to each group. Tell students that each group will examine the Great Depression by listenting to FDR’s Fireside Chat about Labor Day. Ask students to read the directions on each handout and answer the questions provided.

3. Group Responses
After small groups have completed the questions, have everyone come together in a large group. Call on small groups to share their responses to the questions.

4. Making Connections
Ask students to consider Roosevelt’s worry about the “… class dissension which in other countries has led to dictatorship and the establishment of fear and hatred as the dominant emotions in human life.” What was Roosevelt worried about? Did the Great Depression threaten the foundations of American society?

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