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Chapter Summary


Confident, aristocratic Roosevelt swept into office with an urgent mandate to cope with the depression emergency. His bank holiday and frantic Hundred Days lifted spirits and created a host of new agencies to provide for relief to the unemployed, economic recovery, and permanent reform of the system.

Roosevelts programs put millions of the unemployed back on the job through federal action. As popular demagogues like Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin increased their appeal to the suffering population, Roosevelt developed sweeping programs to reorganize and reform American history, labor, and agriculture. The TVA, Social Security, and the Wagner Act brought far-reaching changes that especially benefited the economically disadvantaged.

Conservatives furiously denounced the New Deal, but Roosevelt formed a powerful coalition of urbanites, labor, new immigrants, blacks, and the South that swept him to victory in 1936.

A decade after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, women began to exercise their rights, both politically and intellectually.

Roosevelts Court-packing plan failed, but the Court finally began approving New Deal legislation. The later New Deal encountered mounting conservative opposition and the stubborn persistence of unemployment. Although the New Deal was highly controversial, it saved America from extreme right-wing or left-wing dictatorship.



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