Critics of the New Deal American History

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Critics of the New Deal

American History

The Big Three Critics

  • Dr. Francis E. Townsend – Basic/Pre- Social Security Plan

  • give $200/month to people over 60-must spend in 30 days

  • support – 3.5 million members

  • Father Charles E. Coughlin – Radio Priest – Fix the Economy

  • blamed banks for depression

  • wants to mess with the gold standard-use silver instead

  • nationalize banks, use silver to inflate the economy

  • would it have worked? NO

  • support – 30-40 million listeners mostly Catholic

  • Huey Long – Kingfish – Share Our Wealth – Robin Hood

  • who is he? – former Governor and Senator from LA

  • built roads, public housing, and schools-did this through higher taxes on all not just the rich, and then he lined his pockets with friendly contracts

  • he would confiscate all wealth and give everyone equal money

  • support – 8 million members

  • affect of support – could have split a Presidential election

  • What happened to him? – shot in Louisiana State Capital

Other Ways to Boost the Economy

  • Social Security Act

  • same as the one today

  • provides for sudden loss of job, retirement benefits, and disability

  • was it for all people? – excluded poor, esp. minorities

  • Wealth Tax

  • Revenue Act of 1935

  • if a business clears 10% profit then they pay a greater tax

  • later they increased the tax

Election of 1936

  • opponents – FDR vs. Al Landon (Governor of Kansas)

  • FDR’s key to success – he campaigned for the poor – he gave them HOPE

  • Totals – 523 to 8 for FDR, 61% of total vote = huge landslide

Roosevelt and the Courts

  • 6 of 9 judges over 70 and kept shutting down the New Deal

  • FDR tries to pack the courts, cannot its illegal, but he persuades the judges to uphold the agencies

Racism and Prejudices

  • African Americans

  • Do A.A.’s support Dem.? Yes What about FDR? 75%

  • integration slowly happening, but this leads to riots and more lynching

  • Marian Anderson blocked from singing at Constitution Hall so Eleanor allows her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial -75,000 attended

  • Native Americans

  • Dawes Act – Sold off reservations to whites to pay for Indian schools

  • This lead to the Indian Reorganization Act – give rule of reservations back to the Indians

  • Mexican Americans

  • how many in the U.S.? nearly 1 million

  • were they treated well? no

WPA – Federal Writer’s Project

  • almost 7000 unemployed writers hired by the government

  • wrote travel guides, histories

  • biggest literary project in history


  • Gone with the Wind 1936 by Margaret Mitchell

  • Their Eyes are Watching God 1937 by Zora Neale Hurston

  • Grapes of Wrath 1939 by John Steinbeck

  • Native Son 1940 by Richard Wright

Legacy of the New Deal

  • lasts 5 years from 1933-38

  • Did it end the Great Depression? No. What does? WWII

  • supposed to help the forgotten – but it doesn’t help those most in need.

  • = bigger government, also gov’t for the individual (welfare state etc…)

  • modernized the President, President stronger than Congress

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