Homework Help

How does Zinn's view Roosevelt's New Deal, in chapter 15 of A People's History of the...

user profile pic

mcnarles | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 29, 2011 at 2:43 AM via web

dislike 1 like

How does Zinn's view Roosevelt's New Deal, in chapter 15 of A People's History of the United States, differ from most histories' view?

Most histories reflect the New Deal as a massive social experience and is seen as the greatest extent of liberal government policy. Is Zinn's view different?

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 29, 2011 at 2:56 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

As you say, most histories portray the New Deal as a very important change in government's role in society.  The New Deal is seen as the beginning of the modern state that we have now where government is expected to regulate the economy and to ensure that the economy runs smoothly.  This is seen by most historians (though conservatives tend not to agree) as a good thing.

Zinn, however, has a much more radical view of the New Deal.  To Zinn, the New Deal was simply a way of trying to bolster capitalism and to prevent people from really changing society on their own.  He argues that one of the goals of the New Deal was

...to head off the alarming growth of spontaneous rebellion in the early years of the Roosevelt administration- organization of tenants and the unemployed, movements of self-help, general strikes in several cities.

Zinn portrays the New Deal as an attempt by the government (run of course by members of the elite classes) to maintain control of society so as to prevent a true revolution that would have ended in popular control of the society.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes