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The Great Depression and World War II

Its strengths, encompassing the indispensable worker protection rights listed above, could not help but be offset by its weaknesses, which compromised the ability of the common worker to wriggle out from under the weight of big business.

Another attempt by FDR to make good on his vision for economic recovery came in the form of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which incentivized farmers to better balance agricultural supply against consumer demand. This meant reducing production in order to maintain higher prices. FDR assumed that farmers would benefit by such a measure because it encouraged a lower overhead and a higher price. In this, once again the strength of a New Deal policy appeared to provide a much needed relief. However, like the NRA, the AAA had its downside as well, as farm laborers and tenant farmers were made unnecessary by its provisions. Land-owning farmers, having reduced their output, had less need for labor, and adjusted their practices accordingly. In spite of raising gross farm income by 50% and commodity prices by 66%, the Supreme Court also ruled against the AAA in 1936 (Polenberg 11-12).

As Polenberg aptly summarizes, "by the end of his first term in office [FDR] had expanded the role of government in people's lives and had permanently altered their assumptions about what government could and should do to protect them against economic adversity" (14). In 1936, FDR won re-election in a landslide that appeared to indicate America's unswerving faith in his New Deal policiesùand his contention that a big, strong central government was desirable for the American people. The expansion of the state and executive power base that characterized the early New Deal years attached a stigma to the liberal agenda that has defined it ever since. And yet, as Alan Brinkley shows, in the aftermath of Roosevelt's overwhelming second-term victory in 1936, the basic concepts of liberalism were yet to experience som...

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The Great Depression and World War II. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:30, July 20, 2017, from
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