Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 20 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

The New Deal

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   No comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 514931
Message James A. Haught
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.


A golden age of liberalism arose in the 1930s as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his "New Deal" rescued America from the Great Depression. That tumultuous era launched the public safety net to protect families from agonies of life.

Previously, Americans had no safeguards against poverty, job loss, old-age deprivation, disabilities, bank failures, stock scams and other ills. They were defenseless against painful hardships. At that time, the United States was the only modern democracy without any social protections.

After the historic stock market crash in 1929, calamity snowballed. Millions of investors were wiped out. Nearly half of American banks failed. Around fourteen million workers -- nearly one-fourth of the total at that time -- lost employment. Many who stayed employed suffered pay cuts. Nearly a million mortgages were foreclosed. Jobless throngs roamed in search of charity. Homelessness became a crisis. Emergency soup kitchens and food pantries helped many survive.

Amid the suffering, some leaders feared insurrection. The most radical labor group in the early 1900s was the communistic Industrial Workers of the World, the "Wobblies," whose constitution began:

"The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people, and the few who make up the employing class have all the good things of life."

Wobblies gathered and sang (to the tune of The Sweet Bye and Bye):

"Long-haired-preachers come out every night, and they tell us what's wrong and what's right -- but when asked about something to eat, they reply in a chorus so sweet: You will eat, bye and bye, in that beautiful home in the sky (way up high). Work and pray, live on hay -- you'll get pie in the sky when you die (that's a lie)."

The Republican administration of President Herbert Hoover floundered helplessly amid the economic collapse. But Democratic challenger Roosevelt promised a rescue, and was elected overwhelmingly. After he took office in 1933, the government plunged into mammoth liberal reforms.

Roosevelt's labor secretary, Frances Perkins -- a driving force of the New Deal -- drafted a set of goals for America, as outlined in her biography: "A forty-hour work week, a minimum wage, worker's compensation [for on-the-job injuries], a federal law banning child labor, direct federal aid for unemployment relief, Social Security, a revitalized public employment service, and health insurance."

Achievements under FDR transformed America:

Social Security gave pensions to the aged and disabled.

The Civilian Conservation Corps put three million jobless young men to work in camps building eight hundred parks, planting three billion trees, constructing remote roads and buildings, and other tasks.

The Public Works Administration, followed by the Works Progress Administration, hired millions more to build dams, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, hospitals, schools, public housing, Navy ships, courthouses, city streets, electrical projects, and the like.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).


Rate It | View Ratings

James A. Haught Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight Atheism, (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Megachurch Mess

Feeding 7.7 Billion

Religion-Tinged Politics

deadly labor struggles

The Dreams that Stuff is Made Of

Coal Mine Wars

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: