Q:

What did the U.S. government do about the Dust Bowl?

A:

Franklin Roosevelt and the U.S. government had two responses to the Dust Bowl: creating agencies and laws to help alleviate financial burdens of migrants and farmers affected by the Dust Bowl; and addressing the environmental issues that created the Dust Bowl. Through the Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration, they provided subsidies and purchased sub-prime land to give money to the farmers and restore grasslands to over-farmed wheat fields.

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In his first 100 days in office, Roosevelt addressed soil conservation, the key to turning around the Dust Bowl conditions, by creating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Soil Erosion Service. The establishment of the Soil Erosion Service was the first major federal commitment to the preservation of privately owned natural resources. In 1935, Roosevelt started the Prairie States Forestry Project to plant nearly 220 million trees, a project undertaken by the U.S. Forestry Service, the CCC, the new Works Progress Administration (WPA) and local farmers. The seven-year project created over 18,000 miles of windbreaks on 30,000 farms, a so-called “shelter belt” from the Texas Panhandle to Canada. These agencies and this response were a part of a larger effort to address the Great Depression: the New Deal, Roosevelt's legacy.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Could the Dust Bowl have been prevented?

    A:

    While this was a sensitive topic in its day, many scholars agree that the Dust Bowl could largely have been prevented from happening. Scholars from the University of Illinois agree with the idea that the Dust Bowl tragedy occurred due to a combination of human and ecological factors, meaning it might not have been 100 percent preventable, but its effects could have been less severe with better farming practices.

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  • Q:

    How many people died in the Dust Bowl?

    A:

    The exact number of deaths from the Dust Bowl remains unknown, but evidence suggests hundreds, even thousands, of Plains residents died from exposure to dust. The Dust Bowl claimed the lives of men, women and children, although children and the elderly were most susceptible to the harmful effects of the dust. The thick dust produced by the Dust Bowl also harmed plants and animals, leaving them dead in the aftermath.

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  • Q:

    What is another name for the legislative branch of the U.S. government?

    A:

    The legislative branch of the U.S. government, which is responsible for making and passing laws, is also known as the U.S. Congress. Congress is comprised of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The laws enacted by Congress are enforced by the executive branch and, when needed, interpreted by the judicial branch.

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  • Q:

    What position in the U.S. government did Joseph McCarthy hold?

    A:

    Joseph R. McCarthy served as a U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin. McCarthy was elected to Congress in 1946 and stayed in office until his death of cirrhosis of the liver at age 48 in 1957.

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