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The photo depicts a bale of hay in the middle of the road blocking a truck with cows in the back bound for Sioux City with protestors on either side of the truck.
Courtesy of State Historical Society of Iowa, "Farmers Strike," 1932


The roadblock depicted in the image shows a tactic used during the Farmers' Holiday Strike of 1932. The strike was called for after the National Farmers’ Union, who had been lobbying for years to gain aid and tariff reform to help with the falling prices for goods during the depression. Initially, the idea for the strike was for farmers to stop selling their goods and buying goods from others for a period of time. The effectiveness of the strike was more in the media attention gained for their cause than a change to prices or legislation given many farmers did not participate in the strike. The roadblock was an example of members attempting to stop the sale of goods from farmers who were not participating.  

Source-Dependent Questions

  • Describe the type of action taken by farmers depicted in this photograph.
  • How did this type of protest differ from the actions by those who protested the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire? Which type of protest do you feel is more appropriate to bring attention to "just" working conditions? Why?
  • How would being self-employed be more difficult to protest in a capitalist system? How could this type of protest be effective for farmers?