The Dust Bowl Essay

1038 Words 5 Pages
The Dust Bowl


The Dust Bowl was "the darkest moment in the twentieth-century life of the southern plains," (pg. 4) as described by Donald Worster in his book "The Dust Bowl." It was a time of drought, famine, and poverty that existed in the 1930's. It's cause, as Worster presents in a very thorough manner, was a chain of events that was perpetuated by the basic capitalistic society's "need" for expansion and consumption. Considered by some as one of the worst ecological catastrophes in the history of man, Worster argues that the Dust Bowl was created not by nature's work, but by an American culture that was working exactly the way it was planned. In essence, the Dust Bowl was the effect of a society, which deliberately set out to
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The "dirty thirties," as many called it, was a time when the earth ran amok in southern plains for the better part of a decade. This great American tragedy, which was more devastating environmentally as well as economically than anything in America's past or present, painstakingly tested the spirit of the southern plainsmen. The proud folks of the south refused at first to accept government help, optimistically believing that better days were ahead. Some moved out of the plains, running from not only drought but from the new machine-controlled agriculture. As John Steinbeck wrote in the bestseller The Grapes of Wrath, "it was not nature that broke the people-they could handle the drought. It was business farming, seeking a better return on land investments and buying tractors to pursue it, that had broken these people, smashing their identity as natural beings wedded to the land."(pg. 58) The machines, one-crop specialization, non-resident farming, and soil abuse were tangible threats to the American agriculture, but it was the capitalistic economic values behind these land exploitations that drove the plainsmen from their land and created the Dust Bowl.
Eventually, after years of drought and dust storms, the plains people had to accept some form of aid or fall to the lowest…