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Franklin Delano Roosevelt And The New Deal

By Kate Bush

This essay was obviously written by a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policy who presents the New Deal as a great success and FDR as a great politician. David M. Kennedy starts with the description of Roosevelt’s personal qualities that helped him become a prominent politician. The author’s point is that Roosevelt had some inborn as well as acquired qualities that stipulated his political success, and contrasts him with Hoover who was a financier rather than a politician. According to Kennedy, even Roosevelt’s disability had played a positive role in his formation as a politician as during the time of enforced idleness his political philosophy was coined.
Kennedy underlines the importance of the mission of Lorena Hickok who had to see the life of ordinary people with her own eyes, and her observations led her to the discovery of the chronic poverty. Thus the government became closer to the understanding of the real needs of the real people, who always lived in poverty and whose situation worsened a bit more during the depression. It is implied that Kennedy gives much importance to this understanding, as the relatively rich people who the politicians were could not address the problem appropriately until they understood the nature of the problem.
The author is convinced that the New Deal had a significant historical meaning, and he emphasizes its social importance. According to Kennedy, the aim of the New Deal was to ensure more just distribution of wealth, and he cites Roosevelt as a proof: “We are going to make a country in which no one is left out” (Hoffman and Gjerde 214). The author believes that the benefits for the poorest strata of society were apparent; and he assigns to Roosevelt the value of the “shift in perception”, as he calls it, or the formation of the idea that the government does not only play a certain role in nation’s life but also has a major responsibility for it. Kennedy believes Roosevelt to be the father of the American social insurance system.
This essay was written by a critic of the New Deal and Roosevelt’s reforms. Higgs notes the overall positive assessment of Roosevelt’s policies by historians but completely disagrees with this view and believes it to be a myth and a great misunderstanding potentially caused by predisposition. According to Higgs, Franklin D. Roosevelt prolonged the depression rather than helped the country get over it. The author introduces this point at the beginning of the essay and then develops it and provides arguments.
To him, Roosevelt was simply a political opportunist who used the situation to win votes and who actually understood nothing in the situation and even less in possible ways out of it. Higgs calls the New Deal “a vote-building scheme” (Hoffman and Gjerde 217) and accuses Roosevelt in demagogy. According to him, it was a program of channeling money to the groups whose political support FDR wanted to gain.
Higgs believes Roosevelt and his advisers to be absolutely incompetent, and their inclination to blame investors for all evils seems to be a nonsense to Higgs. He states that the expansion of government regulation introduced by Roosevelt was in fact a threat to capitalism and free market, and led to a dangerous ideological change that undermined the values of market economy and made the succeeding generations live with the abundance of state agencies unnecessarily propagated by Roosevelt.
As an evidence of FDR’s incompetence, Higgs also refers to the methods used by Roosevelt’s administration to cope with the crisis. He finds these methods to be very similar to those used earlier to deal with the war issues, and argues that a war has little in common with an economic crisis, and therefore the methods used to deal with both situations should differ. Overall, Higgs comes out with the relentless criticism of Roosevelt’s activities.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Bush, Kate "Franklin Delano Roosevelt And The New Deal." Franklin Delano Roosevelt And The New Deal. 26 Jun. 2010. 19 Feb 2016 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Bush, K (2010, June 26). Franklin Delano Roosevelt And The New Deal. Retrieved February 19, 2016, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Bush, Kate "Franklin Delano Roosevelt And The New Deal"

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