In both the 1930s and the 1960s, the role of the federal government in bettering the lives of average citizens increased.
In the 1930s, the role of the government shifted fundamentally. Before the New Deal, social welfare was considered the province of the states. The role of the federal government was primarily focused on warfare and defense issues. The New Deal, for the first time ever, established a host of programs and laws that, at a federal level, improved the lives of average citizens, such as federally secured bank deposits, the forty-hour work week, and Social Security.
Johnson's Great Society programs did not, unlike the New Deal, fundamentally shift the relationship between the federal government and the states. They also did not challenge a national consensus in which a robust social welfare state existed along side a robust capitalist economic system. The programs that emerged in the 1960s primarily built on and expanded the platform the New Deal had already established. For...
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