Essay: To what extent was the New Deal "new"?

Essay by wfan99High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2005

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, was a reform policy, that was unique to him, though some of the same ideas were upheld in the Progressive and Populist movements. Roosevelt was successful at introducing his policy in a time where it seemed to be the only hope to get out of the depression. It was the people's ray of light. The Populists and Progressives represented the farmers and those oppressed by the major industrialists, unlike Roosevelt who stood for all common men. Hoover and his two predecessors were a disgrace in the case of reform movement; they didn't really get active towards it. Roosevelt's New Deal was indeed "new", a break from the past and a step into the future by introducing radical new reforms.

The Populist Party, or People's party, was the party that represented the common man. It was created towards the end of the nineteenth century. Their goals included creating postal savings banks, enacting immigration restriction, setting a graduated income tax and limiting the presidency to a single six-year term.

The Populist platform represented views of farmers in the West. They also wanted the government to shed immigrants from any land that they owned. Denouncing immigrants was perhaps the only unromantic aspect of the populist cause in the 1890s. They were a problem for populists then because manufacturers wanted cheap labor. In short, the immigrants became the "scum of the nation" that made some "cities more foreign than American," and thus were seen as a threat. While there can be no justification for the populists' harsh stance against immigrants, the government taking liberties from big businesses was justified in order to protect the average citizen from the corporate elite. There was no single event that may have comprised the beginning of the Populist movement. However, replacing silver with...

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