The New Deal Questions and Answers

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Why did the New Deal arouse criticism from both the right and the left?

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First, it should be noted that the New Deal was wildly popular—Roosevelt won reelection in 1936 in a huge landslide.

That being said, as the other answers have noted, Roosevelt was caught in the crossfire of being too radical for some and too conservative for others. The right was alarmed, as they still are today, at the idea of large government interventions into the economy. They felt that government jobs, Social Security, and other government programs robbed people of initiative, and that legislation for a forty-hour work week, the end to child labor, and minimum wage laws interfered with free markets.

On the left, Roosevelt was criticized for compromising too much with the private sector and not nationalizing basic industries. He also failed to implement a government health program, and while government programs employed many people, many still remained unemployed. Critics on the left wanted the kind of massive government spending that did not come until World War II—which then...

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