Ms. Lee

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2017. 4. 23

Dust Bowl Edit

D.L, Kernodle. Dust storm. 1936. Library of Congress Prints, Baca County, Colorado

D.L,  Kernodle.  Dust storm. 1936.  Library of Congress Prints, Baca County, Colorado.

Dust Bowl is the name of an environmental disaster given to the Great Plains region devastated by drought in 1930s depression-ridden America. The Dust Bowl was caused by a combination of a severe water shortage and damaging farming techniques( Over cultivation of the Great Plain meant loss of soil richness which made the land vulnerable to erosion. The Dust Bowl, which was a decade-long dust storm, caused more than 2.5 million people displaced as they left the region either in search of new arable land or work.(  The Dust Bowl was not just an environmental event rather it had many important consequences that brought environmental economical, political, social, and cultural changes to American society.

The regions like Oklahoma that were affected by the Dust Bowl suffered severely both environmentally and economically. Woody Guthrie who watched the dust storm through his window and and described how the “wheat fields they had grown was now rippling ocean of dust the wind had blown”(Woody Guthrie). When the winds blew, the tremendous clouds of dust were formed and it eventually deposited the dirt which devastated the farms and killed the crops that kept the soil in place. The land was already in fragile condition due to over cultivation and it was defenseless against the great wind that raged the region. Economically, the farmers lost almost everything as they lost not only a year’s worth of crop, but the capacity to farm the land for many years to come. Their farms and lands were in sale which caused by the drought and also depression. Also, lots of people were on federal emergency relief which led to total assistance money of $1 billion that affected whole economy.
Arthur, Rothstein. Dust Bowl Farmer Raising Fence to Keep It from Being Buried under Drifting Sand. 1936. Library of Congress, Cimarron County, Oklahoma.

Arthur, Rothstein. Dust Bowl Farmer Raising Fence to Keep It from Being Buried under Drifting Sand. 1936. Library of Congress, Cimarron County, Oklahoma.

In fact, the Dust Bowl changed many social changes as many farmers became  jobless and suffered from depression which also led to increase of government participation. “Times were very hard during the dust bowl days,... those days were bad”(Karen Carter). People could not eat, work, and enjoy life as they used to as they watch helplessly the devastation caused by the monster wind storm. The livestocks suffocated and this caused the children and some people to have the disease called pneumonia. Seeing that the circumstances are becoming severe, the participation of government were  greatly expanding. For example, the federal government mobilized several New Deal agencies principally the Soil Conservation Service formed in 1935, to promote farm rehabilitation ( Moreover, they created the Surplus Relief Corporation that funds and helps the poor and farmers

Not only the Dust Bowl had abdominal affect, the arts and cultures were influenced in a good way. “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”(Berthold Auerbach). Musical cultures were influenced by Migrants, especially Oklahoma Migrants who decided to spread their traditional music to California. Procreation of country dances halls were inspired by their new musics through Los Angeles (wikipedia). Likewise, photographers, musicians, and authors were influenced a lot during the Dust Bowl that they were also hired by federal governments to document the crisis. For example, artist Dorothea Lange were paid for her work that she took photographs of the dust storms and migrant people. Famous author called John Steinbeck wrote the book about migrant workers and farm families displaced because of the Dust Bowl in 1939 by getting information from  Farm Security Administration worker.

THE DUST BOWL- A Film By Ken Burns01:44

THE DUST BOWL- A Film By Ken Burns . 18th - PBS


“A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself"(Franklin Roosevelt). The Dust Bowl couldn't have come at a worse time. The Americans were already suffering from the Great Depression and the impact of the Dust Bowl in the Great Plains was felt deeply. In fact, it changed the environmental, social, economic, political outlook of many Americans. It was one of the worst natural disaster in American History.

Work Cited Edit

Amadeo, Kimberly. “How the Dust Bowl Environmental Disaster Impacted the US Economy.”The Balance, About, Inc., 20 Apr. 2017, Accessed 16 Apr. 2017.

“Dust Bowl.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Apr. 2017, Accessed 16 Apr. 2017

Henderson, Caroline A. “Letters From the Dust Bowl.” The Atlantic, May 1936, Accessed 16 Apr. 2017. Staff. "Dust Bowl." A&E Television Networks, 2009, Date Accessed 16 Apr. 2017.

Mulvey, Deb. "Letter from a Dust Bowl Survivor." Letter to Family. 24 Mar. 1935. MS. McCracken, Kansas.

Pages in category "The Dust Bowl"

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