Ideologies and Utopias: The Impact of the New Deal on American Thought

By Arthur A. Ekirch Jr. | Go to book overview

TWO
The Search for Solutions

THE DEPRESSION and the accompanying crisis in the American dream forced the American people to try to find some way to check the continuing disintegration of the nation's economy. Liberal critics of the business civilization of the twenties were caught, as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., has observed, "almost as short by the depression as was American business itself. . . . Depression confronted both groups with a radically new challenge. Assuming the inevitability of economic growth, they failed to anticipate economic collapse. Few among them were ready with either diagnosis or cure," 1

As the seriousness of the national catastrophe became steadily more apparent, the search for solutions widened, and the American people were impelled to consider ideas that were revolutionary in their probable impact. The undoubted crisis in capitalism seemed to demand, at the very least, new and fundamental reforms. The traditional relations of government and business were called into question, and solutions that previously would have been rejected as dangerously socialistic were given a sympathetic hearing. Confronted by the growth of totalitarian governments abroad, American leaders in business and politics, in the churches and the universities, sought alternatives that might preserve the

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Ideologies and Utopias: The Impact of the New Deal on American Thought
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • One - The Crisis in the American Dream 3
  • Two - The Search for Solutions 36
  • Three - Roosevelt in a Word 72
  • Four - Toward a New Public Philosophy 105
  • Five - Life Can Be Beautiful 141
  • Six - A Chorus of Dissent 177
  • Seven - War and the Intellectuals 208
  • Eight - The Wave of the Future 245
  • A Note on Sources 267
  • Notes 271
  • Index 297
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