Green New Dealers Turn Up the Heat

When FDR ran for president in 1932 promising a new deal for the American people, no one quite knew what a New Deal would be. His plan for fighting the Great Depression was long on hope and short on details. Many of the ideas were untried. But nearly everyone agreed that more needed to be done to meet the economic, humanitarian, and environmental crisis. Most were ready to try anything that might work.

Many then in Congress branded the New Deal as “socialist,” claiming it was unaffordable and unattainable—just as they’re doing now in response to the Green New Deal. FDR was undeterred. “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another,” he said. The spirit of experimentation, innovation, and grit of the New Deal offers both hope and a model for meeting our biggest, greenest challenges today.

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