Describe the political challenges Roosevelt faced in the mid-1930s.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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During the mid-1930s, Franklin Roosevelt faced criticism from both the right and the left.  The right thought that FDR was a socialist who was ruining the United States.  More worrisome to Roosevelt, though, were critics on the left who thought that he should be doing more to help the working class.

There were three major figures who challenged FDR in this way.  They were Sen. Huey Long (D-LA), Francis Townsend, and Father Charles Coughlin.  The first two of these had fairly radical proposals.  Long wanted to (among other things) confiscate the fortunes of rich people and give every family in the US a guaranteed income.  Townsend wanted to give pensions to all Americans over 60 with the requirement that they spend the whole of their payment every month (to stimulate demand).

In response to this sort of pressure, FDR instituted new programs, the most important of which was Social Security.

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