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Roosevelt Administration and the President's New Deal was based on a broad coalition of different groups whose ideological views were sometimes sharply at odds. Roosevelt confidence and optimism appealed to people across gender, class and racial division. His charisma was a crucial factor in holding together different interest groups. Significantly New Deal legislation has been described as "interest-group democracy" as it seemed to promise progress and advancement for everyone. Farmers, industrial workers and the unemployed could benefit from the relief programs while industrialists and bankers took advantage from the economic measures to boost the American economy. One of the most debated questions during the years of the New Deal was the extent to which government should enter into the economy and how far its intervention was really beneficial.
As Michael Denning shows in his study The Cultural Front (1997), radical left-wing organizations such as Socialists and Communists were also part, at times, of the New Deal coalition. Yet, the New Deal and Roosevelt Administration were not revolutionary and sought to reform capitalism from within rather than subverting its basic principles. Therefore it remained a predominantly middle-class phenomenon which, however, tried to limit the excesses of laissez faire capitalism that had characterized economic thought before the advent of the Great Depression.
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