The Dust Bowl

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The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl began on April 14, 1935. It followed the drought of 1930, which left the farmlands on the Great Plains dead and dry. Farmers discontinued farming and left the crops open to the strong winds. Winds grew and continued to pick up the loose, dry soil forming clouds of dust. The vast grasslands that once occupied this region were killed due to over grazing and the three-year long drought. The lands were easy eroded by the wind without the protection of these thick grasslands. The dust storms grew and grew, and began to affect cities such as Chicago, New York, and Washington D. C. The dust became a part of regular day to day life for Americans during this time period. It entered their homes and blanketed almost everything. The dust took a toll on human’s health as well; it caused dust pneumonia and silicosis, not to mention malnutrition due to the inability to grow crops and dying of livestock. Farm families were forced to leave their homes in order to make a living outside of farming. The Dust Bowl was even more devastating due to the country’s already poor economic state. This epidemic forced many farmers and workers to migrate to California. These migrants were given the name “Okies”, as they most commonly traveled from Oklahoma.

The government’s attempts to stop the Dust Bowl included water and soil conservation districts, along with the requiring of farmers to plow their land to prevent further wind erosion. The overall impact of the Dust Bowl was the mass migration to the west, knew techniques and establishments to prevent a second Dust Bowl from ever occurring.

Sherwood, Martha A. The Thirties in America. Pasadena, CA: Salem, 2011. Print.

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