Discuss the long- and short-range effects of the New Deal on American political and economic life.What were its key successes and failures? What legacies of New Deal-era policies and political...
Discuss the long- and short-range effects of the New Deal on American political and economic life.
What were its key successes and failures? What legacies of New Deal-era policies and political struggles can you find in contemporary America?
In the short term, the New Deal helped to make the Depression less of a problem. It did not really end the Depression, but it helped.
Long term, it has had huge consequences that we can feel today. It got the government way more involved in the economy. It got the government to start paying farmers not to produce things, which still happens today. It got the government to build dams and such -- the electricity I'm using to type this came from a dam made then.
Politically, this changed our outlook. It made us assume that the government was going to take care of us -- to give us things like Social Security, to guarantee our bank accounts, etc. Right now, we are going through some amount of conflict about these things -- how much the government should be involved in our economic lives, especially (like with the health care debate).
One of the lasting effects of the New Deal was to develop a frame of reference where government could be seen as a source of help to its citizens in time of need. Prior to the New Deal, government had been seen as an instrument of foreign policy and whose intervention in the domestic realm was not one prone to wide expansion and influence. Even the Progressive Presidents worked on a model where government's role was limited in comparison to the scope and depth of Roosevelt's vision. Upon the passage and implementation of the elements of the New Deal, Americans came to believe that government could be used as a method of equalizing the playing field, an instrument to help its citizens in times of needs and distress, and as a source of refuge for all.