The New Deal interpretation


Carl Degler (the late 1950s)

  •  Was the  "third America Revolution"  
  • The enhanced role of the federal government saw it take increasing responsibility.
  • The new deal Represented a sign of a growing  maturity of the America nation.  
  • it also had a break with Laissez- Faire policies of the 19th century and the 1920s 
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Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. & William Leuchtenburg

  • The new deal represented a compassionate response to crisis. 
  •          Leuchtenburg: The New Deal created a more just society by recognising previously marginalised groups like organised labour.  

  • The  probelms of America were only paritally addressed.
  •   ·         Groups such as slum dwellers, share-croppers (the poorest farmers who rented their land from larger landowners) & African Americans still felt a sense of exclusion.
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The ‘New Left’ (1960’s): Paul Conkin, Barton J. B

  • It was a wasted opportunity for a radical change. 
  • Piecemeal solutions enabled capitalism to prevail
  • ·         Conkin: The New Deal should have improved social justice & produced a more contented population.
  • ·         Bernstein: The New Deal failed to solve the depression & did not redistribute wealth or improve the lot of America’s poor.

  • ·         The New Deal never consulted the people about what they wanted or needed.

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Milton Friedman (1970s/80s)

  • it Set USA upon the wrong course encouraging government spending and welfare state
  • It encouraged people to rely on the federal government which stoped  entrepreneurial creativity. 
  • ·         The election of Ronald Regan in 1980 was a turning point in reversing the New Deal’s policy of government responsibility for the people.

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William Leuchtenburg (writing since the ‘New Left’

  • ·         The New Deal achieved a lot in the field of expanding federal government power.

    ·         The expansion of federal power has largely remained permanent.

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David Kennedy (1990s)

  • it did not manage to achieve fundamental changes to the America economy such as redidusrting national wealth or ending capitalism. 
  • it did achieve a great deal in other way , reforming the economy so that more could benefit from the wealth.
  • ·         The achievements of the New Deal included the following

    -       Recognition of organised labour (trade union recognition).

    -       Better regulation of abuses in the economic system.

    -       Greater financial security (e.g. the introduction of old age pensions).

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