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[Detail] See America. Alexander Dux

By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943, provides many opportunities to develop historical thinking skills. The posters in this collection can be used to create an illustrative timeline of federal programs. The Special Presentations in this collection allow for comprehension of the Federal Art Program's contribution to modern art in the United States. Some posters also provide an opportunity to assess race relations in the early-twentieth century and to discuss whether perpetuating of racial stereotypes contributed to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Other works provide a catalyst for researching the history of public works across the United States and in particular communities.

Chronological Thinking Skills

This collection represents two of the most important historical events of the early-twentieth century in the United States--the Great Depression and World War II. Search on terms such as Works Progress Administration and war to create an illustrative timeline of the federal programs that were designed to combat the nation's domestic and international enemies.

  • What types of programs were introduced to address economic concerns of the 1930s?
  • How did graphic artists portray these efforts?
  • What types of public actions were promoted during World War II?
  • How did the efforts of the War Department compare to WPA programs?
  • Based on these posters, how would you describe the atmosphere and prevalent attitudes in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s?