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The main way in which the federal government changed during the New Deal was by expanding greatly and expanding its role in American society.
Before the New Deal, the federal government was a relatively small entity. It was not expected to do very much and it did not have a huge number of employees. People were generally expected to fend for themselves. The economy was supposed to be left alone to fix itself in bad times. This was a very limited government.
During the New Deal, this all changed. The government inserted itself into many areas of economic life that had never been contemplated before. It involved itself in providing jobs for people who did not have them. It involved itself in trying to ensure that retired people would have enough money to live on. It involved itself in trying to ensure that people would not lose their money when banks failed. It tried to completely remake the physical environments through programs like the Tennessee Valley Authority. These are all things that had not previously been expected of the federal government.
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