The New Deal Questions and Answers

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Although the New Deal extended help to many Americans, all did not benefit equally from the era's reforms. Who remained outside the reach of New Deal assistance? Why? In your answer, consider how politics shaped the limits of reform, both in constituents' ability to demand assistance and in the federal government’s response to their demands.

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The New Deal, often hailed as a wonderful economic and social program, was certainly a racialized and gendered deal in which Franklin D. Roosevelt created institutions and programs to recover the American economy from the effects of the Great Depression. These programs mostly benefitted working class white men who were able to gain greater access to jobs and social services.

The New Deal was immediately inaccessible to many groups of people, as being legally allowed to vote was often a requirement in order to apply for and receive aid. White men received aid and gained access to jobs via federal work programs more than any other group of people. Black men only comprised 15% of those employed in the WPA, while women made up only 13.5% of workers in the Works Progress Administration.

Additionally, an overwhelming amount of employers continued to refuse to hire people of color/white women, and the federal programs did not require employers to be non-discriminatory in their hiring...

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