The Strenuous Life Speech Analysis

1123 Words5 Pages
At the beginning of the 20th century, the United States was booming with new industrial innovations because of new technologies, and it was becoming one of the leading economies in the world. This economic boom came to a sharp halt as events such as the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl hit, causing millions of Americans to face economic struggles. “The Strenuous Life,” a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt, displays the ideas of American work ethics that led to economic growth in the early 1900s. These ideals of work ethic not only prompted the cause of the Dust Bowl, but were continued on into the lives of the affected farmers as Americans displaced and in poverty from this event continued to participate in migrant work with awful living…show more content…
The Dust Bowl, beginning in the 1930s, added to the struggle of American farmers as lands out west in states such as Oklahoma and Kansas were over-plowed, causing the topsoil to become uprooted, creating massive dust storms. These dust storms left the land unusable to farm, displacing many Americans in the agricultural industry. Steinbeck’s The Harvest Gypsies displays the struggles these farmers faced when moving west to California, hoping to find some sort of work. Many displaced farmers lived in squatters’ camps, temporary dwellings for those looking for work. Steinbeck described these camps as having awful living conditions, saying that “From a distance it looks like a city dump, and well it may, for the city dumps are the sources for the material of which it is built.” In The Harvest Gypsies, Steinbeck also describes decreasing morale in the displaced farmers as he says “the dullness shows in the faces…and in addition there is a sullenness that makes them taciturn.” The difficulty of finding adequate work to support a family during the Dust Bowl was extremely high—and as the work was competitive, these farmers implicated the work ethic that began at the beginning of the 20th…show more content…
Farmers in the West, both before and as the Depression hit, frivolously worked to farm their land and produce as much agriculture as possible, aiming to fulfil their duty as a “proper” American citizen in fulfilling their role as a hard and productive worker. The ideas of hard work ultimately led to over-working the American farmland in the western United States. As the overworked land was uprooted, displacing these farmers, the ideas of a strenuous American work ethic continued to remain in the minds of these
Open Document