Born in 1917, Jacob Lawrence was predominantly influenced by the 1930s. During the 1930s, many political ideologies such as Marxist Socialism, Capitalist Democracy, and the Totalitarianism of both Communism and Fascism were engaged in struggles for dominance, and characterised the political atmosphere of the era. In the United States, the Great Depression had a severe impact on artistic output, and artists began to focus on the idea of modesty and of the ordinary man on the streets. The focus of art in the United States also began to take a more political turn for the first time, and artists used these topics and ideas to endeavour to impact society. Subjects such as poverty, lack of affordable housing, anti-lynching, anti-fascism, and workers' strikes became prevalent in the work of many artists.