Primary Sources & Lesson Plans
The New Deal of the 1930s consisted of a wide variety of legislative initiatives intended to address the many problems that both caused and resulted from the Great Depression. The New Deals strength was its ideological flexibility. Through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Federal government attempted to provide employment for artists, academics, and performers. Formed in 1935 and run by Harry Hopkins, the WPA proved to be quite creative. Its Federal Theatre Project engaged in experimental works and exposed many Americans to their first experience with live professional performances.
1. Why is the title of this musical revue ironic?
2. Why do you think the organizers of the revue included the disclaimer located in the box on the second page of the document?
3. Look at the specific titles of the pieces that were performed. How do they reflect their historic circumstances?
4. To what extent should the government be able to censor the arts?
5. Does your answer to question 4 change if the government is funding the artist?
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