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A People's History of the United States

by Howard Zinn
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How does Zinn's view of 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?

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Though labor unions certainly existed long before, the 1930s, under the cloud of the Great Depression, were truly a hotbed for the rise of labor unions and a multitude of other rights groups and organizations fighting for political, economic, and social change. This rise can be attributed to such factors as massive unemployment, unsafe working conditions, low wages, long hours, unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, the loss of life savings, and discrimination of all types.

Now, though it may appear on the surface that all these unions and other groups were fully united in their vision of what America could, or should, be, the reality is that there were deep divisions spelled out along ideological lines. For example, there were labor unions and other organizations that adhered strictly to Marxian economic and political principles and envisioned a radical “do over” of society and economy via revolution. These organizations were emboldened by the Depression, brought on by what they...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 521 words.)

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