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What We Can Learn From Our Depression-Era Ancestors

Thomas Whitley

The Pew Research Center has a study out today that compares how Americans view the current situation with how Depression-era folk viewed their situation. On the whole, those who lived during the Depression were much worse off, yet they were also much more optimistic. Head on over and read the entire post, but for those of you who like to read the end before the beginning, here are their concluding thoughts.

Is there a message in this for today's America? Two possible lessons: First, it's worth remembering that the social programs and banking controls that the New Deal era produced stood the nation in good stead over many decades of unprecedented prosperity. Second, Depression-era Americans' faith in the country and its guiding institutions steeled them against the challenges of a double-dip recession and, years later, World War II. They had it worse, but they also expected it to get better, faster.