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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores how the Great Depression and World War II shaped politics in the United States. The collapse of the economy brought Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) to the presidency; it also brought the New Deal. This essay explores the ways in which the New Deal’s attempts to save capitalism brought about long-lasting political changes, forging an electoral coalition that dominated American politics for decades. The New Deal’s key policy measures, including public works construction and the creation of social security, proved to be effective politics as well. World War II saw FDR and the federal government draw upon the New Deal’s methods, reforms, and bureaucracies in mobilizing the nation’s economy and society. This policy toolkit, the essay concludes, signaled the political power of empirically minded flexibility, ratifying for a generation the legitimacy of the government’s involvement in the economy.

Keywords: Great Depression, New Deal, World War II, liberalism, capitalism, economy, politics, social security, public works.

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