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

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

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

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

Excerpt

The new deal came to power in the midst of a profound crisis for the United States. The political beneficiary of the gravest economic collapse in the nation's history, the first Roosevelt administration was able to reverse the psychology of defeat that gripped the country in 1932. In the slow process of social and economic recovery after the Great Crash of 1929, many of the historic postulates of the American dream underwent a drastic shift. Swept aside with the simple mass faith in the idea of inevitable progress were the easy shibboleths of the cult of prosperity set forth by a number of the leading business and political figures of the 1920's. In their place, the regulation and reform of the American economy, through the aegis of the federal government under strong presidential leadership, became the new reigning belief and political philosophy.

The varied ideologies and utopias that were at the intellectual center of the New Deal gradually restored a measure of hope and new life to the American scene. But in this process of revival and rebirth in the 1930's, American history was also changed. And at the close of the decade, Americans were confronted again by the challenge of world war.

Whatever the final verdict of history, it seems likely that the . . .

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