Polenberg, The Era of Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Brief History with Documents
One of the historical questions the Polenberg book addresses is how FDR and his administration changed over time, particularly once the U.S. entered World War II. In some ways, aspects of the New Deal continued, and Roosevelt’s outlook was consistent, while in other ways, the war transformed the government, society, and Roosevelt himself.
Choose two primary source documents from the Polenberg book, one from the 1933-41 period and one from the 1942-45 period. Both should have something in common, either the same author or about similar topics or same kind of source. (Do not just pick two randomly with nothing much in common).
The simplest option would be to compare a document from FDR (such as a speech) from the 1930’s with an FDR speech from the 1940’s, for example comparing inaugural addresses. However, that is just one possible combination of two primary sources, and you should choose two that you find the most interesting.
In comparing and contrasting, focus on the question of continuity and change. How does the later document show a similar situation, similar outlook, similar argument, or similar context to the earlier one? How does the later document show a different situation, outlook, etc.?
The best comparison/contrast essays include a bit of explanation, not just a description of how two things are similar or different. Use this comparison of two documents to come to some interpretation or conclusion about what changed and did not change in the U.S. from the Great Depression to World War II.
Be sure to use quotes and/or paraphrases in your essay, and cite with footnotes all quotes and paraphrases from the book.