New Deal

economic programs of U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt

The New Deal was the name President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to the series of programs between 1933–1937 with the goal of relief, recovery and reform of the United States economy during the Great Depression.

1935 cartoon by Vaughn Shoemaker; he parodied the New Deal as a card game with alphabetical agencies.
CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F

  • The only light in the darkness was the administration of Mr. Roosevelt and the New Deal in the United States.
    • Isaiah Berlin, "The Natural" The American Idea: The Best of the Atlantic Monthly (1955), p. 230.
  • The New Deal also came to the rescue of mortaged farmers and city-dwellers by taking steps to prevent foreclosures, then dreadfully common; the federal government, in essence, underwrote both the lenders and the borrowers.
    • Hugh Brogan, The Penguin History of the United States of America, 1990.
  • The resemblances between Adolf Hitler's speech to the newly elected Reichstag on March 21, 1933, and Roosevelt's inaugural address are indeed a great deal more striking than the differences. Yet it almost goes without saying that the United States and Germany took wholly different political directions from 1933 until 1945, the year when, both still in office, Roosevelt and Hitler died. Despite Roosevelt's threat to override Congress if it stood in his way, and despite his three subsequent re-elections, there were only two minor changes to the US Constitution during his presidency: the time between elections and changes of administration was reduced (Amendment 20) and the prohibition of alcohol was repealed (Amendment 21). The most important political consequence of the New Deal was significantly to strengthen the federal government relative to the individual states; democracy as such was not weakened. Indeed, Congress rejected Roosevelt's Judiciary Reorganization Bill. By contrast, the Weimar Constitution had already begun to decompose two or three years before the 1933 general election, with the increasing reliance of Hitler's predecessors on emergency presidential decrees. By the end of 1934 it had been reduced to a more or less empty shell. While Roosevelt was always in some measure constrained by the legislature, the courts, the federal states and the electorate, Hitler's will became absolute, untrammelled even by the need for consistency or written expression.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), p. 224

G - L

  • Even today-in blithe disregard to his actual philosophy- Smith is generally regarded as a conservative economist, whereas in fact, he is more avowedly hostile to the motives of businessman then most New Deal economists.
  • This is what the "New Deal" means to me, an era of acute social consciousness and realization of mutual responsibility, a time of reciprocal helpfulness, of greater understanding and willingness to work together for the good of all.
    • Harold L. Ickes, Speech to the Associated General Contractors of America (Jan. 31, 1936) as quoted by Jason Scott, Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956 2006.
  • Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom promised our nation a new political and economic framework. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal promised security and succor to those in need. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises--it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals to their pride, not to their pocketbook--it holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security.
  • A critical aspect of the operation of the New Deal system was the long history of incremental change and resistance to more fundamental modification. This incremental adjustment orientation was apparent in government policy, managerial practice, and union bargaining objectives.
  • At the end of February we were a congeries of disorderly panic-stricken mobs and factions. In the hundred days from March to June we became again an organized nation confident of our power to provide for our own security and to control our own destiny.

M - R

  • Just as he was sensitive to the broad geographic appeal of the Corps, so too was Franklin Roosevelt aware that the CCC could bring together often competing special interests under the banner of New Deal liberalism. The president consciously used the CCC's popularity among both the working and upper classes, on the local and the national levels, and on the political Left and political Right, to knit together an ideologically diverse political constituency that supported the New Deal.
    • Neil M. Maher, Nature's New Deal:The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement, Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace.
  • The effect of every sort of New Deal is to increase and prosper the criminal class. It teaches precisely what all professional criminals believe, to wit, that it is neither virtuous nor necessary to suffer and to do without.
  • You want to know what fascism is like? It is like your New Deal!
    • Benito Mussolini in Mr. New York: The Autobiography of Grover A. Whalen by Grover Aloysius Whalen, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, (1955), p. 188.
  • Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal. It was Mussolini's success in Italy, with his government-directed economy, that led the early New Dealers to say "But Mussolini keeps the trains running on time."
  • I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.
  • Plausible self-seekers and theoretical die-hards will tell you of the loss of individual liberty. Answer this question out of the facts of your own life. Have you lost any of your rights or liberty or constitutional freedom of action and choice? Turn to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, which I have solemnly sworn to maintain and under which your freedom rests secure. I have no question in my mind what your answer will be. The record is written in the experiences of your own personal lives. Read each provision of that Bill of Rights and ask yourself whether you personally have suffered the impairment of a single jot of these great assurances. I have no question in my mind what your answer will be. The record is written in the experiences of your own personal lives.
  • A few timid people, who fear progress, will try to give you new and strange names for what we are doing. Sometimes they will call it "Fascism", sometimes "Communism", sometimes "Regimentation", sometimes "Socialism". But, in so doing, they are trying to make very complex and theoretical something that is really very simple and very practical.
  • What we were doing in this country were some of the things that were being done in Russia and even some of the things that were being done under Hitler in Germany. But we were doing them in an orderly way.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, October 5 private converstion with Harold Ickes, quoted in Lewis S. Feuer, "American Travelers to the Soviet Union, 1917 -- 1932: The Formation of a Component of New Deal Ideology," American Quarterly 14, no. 2, pt. 1 (Summer 1962), p. 147, citing Harold L. Ickes, The Secret Diaries of Harold L. Ickes: The First Thousand Days, p. 104.

S - Z

  • Roosevelt's New Deal was not the best alternative, but it certainly was a better alternative than had been offered to the problems of our times, and it was offered with an elan, a spirit that made things go and which tended to lift up people's hearts. In retrospect, I wouldn't change many of the criticisms I then made. Yet the net result was certainly the salvation of America, and it produced peacefully, after some fashion not calculated by Roosevelt, the Welfare State and almost a revolution.
    • Norman Thomas, Interview in 1967. Quoted in Harry Fleischman, Norman Thomas; a Biography: 1884-1968: With a New Chapter - The Final Years. Harry Fleischman, Norton, 1969. Also quoted in Alden Whitman, Come to Judgment, Penguin Books, 1981.
  • I'm a professor all right. But I was always violently anti-New Deal.
    • Dan Throop Smith starting at Harvard in 1930, as cited in: Ronald Sullivan. "Dan T. Smith Dies; Tax Policy Expert," in: New York Times, June 2, 1982
  • The dichotomy that existed between the domestic elite view of the United States as being under pressure from within and without, and the international view of America as superabundant and expanding, was replicated from the 1930s onwards in the fissures that the Great Depression created in American politics. Roosevelt’s New Deal and the state-led reforms that followed were greeted by some as a necessary concession to collectivism, while others feared the administration’s initiatives and saw them as confirming the political, cultural, and moral decline that had been forced on America by ‘‘foreign’’ influences. Both directions – ‘‘liberal’’ and ‘‘conservative’’ – were anti-Communist, but the latter was considerably more skeptical to direct military intervention in the 1930s and through most of the Cold War. Both saw international affairs as an extension of their interpretation of America’s domestic role, with the conservatives accusing their opponents of being ‘‘soft on Communism’’ and the liberals claiming that the conservatives were unwilling to pay the price of ‘‘making the world safe for democracy.’’
    • Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Intervention and the Making of Our Times (2012), p. 19
  • The New Deal is plainly an attempt to achieve a working socialism and avert a social collapse in America; it is extraordinarily parallel to the successive "policies" and "Plans" of the Russian experiment. Americans shirk the word "socialism", but what else can one call it?
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