First Lady Michelle ObamaDear Mrs. Obama

The U.S. has reached a situation that some compare to the events leading to the Great Depression, and Congress wants to avoid the outcomes from that time. As examples, consider the recent government shutdowns and funding threats for Homeland Security. Some people are worried that social security funds won't be available when they retire. On the other hand, others think that special assistance programs hurt the economy and prevent people from getting jobs and contributing to the overall well being of the country.

Because the federal government is having issues with having enough money to fund government, consider what would happen if Congress passed a new law to stop all assistance programs including welfare, food stamps, and social security. Usually, when something this big happens, people speak up at City Council meetings and write letters to the local newspaper on both sides of the issue. In this task, you get to let your opinion be known about whether Congress should stop assistance programs or not. But you’re going to take it to the next level.

When times were tough in the 1930s, people wrote to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. You learned about this with this website from the New Deal Network. Considering the current financial circumstances, you have an opportunity to write to First Lady Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama wasn’t alive then, but she’s a good student of history. Your letter should help her to see parallels, if any, between this time and then. What were the social, economic, and technological changes going on in the 1930s that are similar to or different from now? What lessons did we learn from that time period related to important topics, such as the impact of the following programs:

You can compose a letter, an e-mail, or use some other form of communication appropriate to reaching out to the First Lady. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms are not good forms of communication for this purpose. You can, if you want to, include any relevant media—like pictures or a video—to support your position.

What advice would you give Mrs. Obama? Should she speak out on this issue? Should Congress pass the law to limit the assistance programs? Some assistance programs? Or should some or all of the programs be continued? Use the documents, data, and websites below to research your position. You can also refer to your textbook or notes from class. You need to provide support for your position, and tell Mrs. Obama where your information comes from. If you didn’t know, she’s trained as a lawyer, and she likes facts, so be sure to make your position as strong as possible.

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