This lesson is an active one in which students co-operate in order to put the best case they can against the New Deal.  It is the first lesson on opposition to the New Deal, so it is important that they do genuinely work out their ideas afresh rather than relying on too much background knowledge. Instead of presenting students with ready-formed ideas, the lesson offers them a range of sources from which they have to make deductions and inferences before considering their significance and working out the clinching arguments.

Learning objectives

  • students make inferences from sources, written, visual and statistical, without support
  • they have to consider the relative significance of each of the weaknesses in the New Deal they have uncovered
  • they co-operate to make a court room case against the New Deal, calling on witnesses to give evidence


Everyone knows the New Deal benefited the USA enormously, but can any of you think why it might have been criticised? Ask students to quickly consult in pairs to see if they can come up with a few provisional ideas in just 90 seconds.

Step 1

Now explain that the lesson is going to be a court room scene. The

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