The Unsung Benefits of the New Deal for the United States and California

The New Deal was one of the great public experiments in American history. Crafted pragmatically by the Roosevelt administration to fight the Great Depression of the 1930s, it helped the country recover from economic disaster and put millions of desperate people back to work. In the long run, it ratcheted up the role of the federal government in business affairs and injected a unprecedented measure of shared responsibility for the welfare of all people. It also marked a dramatic shift in class power over the workings of U.S. democracy.

The recent crash of the global economy — now referred to as the Great Recession — has revived interest in the efficacy of Franklin Roosevelt’s panoply of experiments in reform and recovery, and renewed debate over what the New Deal actually accomplished. Yet the New Deal’s legacy has been largely forgotten or expunged except for a few highlights recycled in national memory.

By Richard A Walker & Gray Brechin | UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment | 2010

2 comments on “The Unsung Benefits of the New Deal for the United States and California

  1. Mildred Carter

    I am looking for written material about the New Deal Project that was in Lakeview, Arkansas. My husband’s family was a by product of the Project. They bought a 40 acre farm with a new house on it, 2 mules and a cultivator in 1938. There were 10 children in this family. The family still own the land after all these years.

    • Mildred — Thanks for your note. Can you tell us more about the project that you are referring to? We don’t have it on our map, but with some more information we might be able to research it for you.

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