Erica Murray's The New Deal Flyer

AP US History Project 1st Period

Opponents of the New Deal

Liberal Critics

  • William Lemke, North Dakota congressman, who ran a third-party Presidential campaign against Roosevelt in 1936 on the ad hoc Union Party ticket. Lemke argued that the New Deal did not go far enough in redistributing wealth in the United States.
  • John L. Lewis, leader of the powerful coal miners labor union and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO); supported 1940 Republican Presidential candidate Wendell Willkie over Roosevelt in a power struggle with FDR for control of the Democratic Party.
  • Conservative Critics
  • Robert Taft, powerful Republican Senator from Ohio from 1939 to 1953. Taft was the leader of the Republican Party's conservative wing; he consistently denounced the New Deal as "socialism" and argued that it harmed America's business interests and gave ever-greater control to the central government in Washington. Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Taft, a non-interventionist, vigorously opposed FDR's attempts to aid Britain in World War II.
  • Barry Goldwater, Republican 1964 presidential candidate; succeeded Taft as the leader of Republican conservatives in the 1950s. Goldwater consistently opposed the expansion of government welfare programs modeled after the New Deal; he criticized President Eisenhower for offering a "dime-store New Deal".
  • Ronald Reagan, Hollywood film actor; strong New Dealer in 1940s; started opposing New Deal programs in the 1950s as a corporate spokesman for the General Electric company.
  • Demagogues
  • Demagogues usually oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, violent action to address a national crisis; they accuse moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness. Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, nothing stops the people from giving that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population.
  • The Supreme Court
  • By early 1935, the New Deal legislation of the previous two years had aroused growing voices of criticism on the left and right of the political spectrum, and by several important Supreme Court rulings. Persisting severe economic difficulties fueled the rise of powerful demagogues who offered immediate solutions to the nation’s economic problems. Senator Huey Long, previously governor of Louisiana, offered a "Share the Wealth" Program of heavy taxation of the wealthy and large handouts to the poor. His plan attracted support across the country from citizens who bitterly resented the uneven distribution of wealth. Ambitious to be president, Long lashed out at the failings of the New Deal.

  • Rise of Unions

    Formations of the C.I.O

    The CIO supported Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal Coalition, and was open to African Americans. Both the CIO and its rival the AFL grew rapidly during the Great Depression. The rivalry for dominance was bitter and sometimes violent. The CIO (Committee for Industrial Organization) was founded on November 9, 1935, by eight international unions belonging to the American Federation of Labor.


    One of the first great labor conflicts occurred in the early 1870s in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. Conditions in the coal mines were dangerous, with inadequate safety provisions and ventilation. A group of primarily Irish miners in Pennsylvania organized into a union. The members of this union were called the Molly Maguires.

    Fair Labor Standards Act

    1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend

    2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality

    3. Unions Helped End Child Labor

    4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage

    5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act

    Last Phase of the New Deal


    The harrowing experience of the Great Depression, followed by the devastating years of World War II, generated momentous social upheavals and extensive working class struggles worldwide. The ensuing “threat of revolution,” as F.D.R. put it, and the “menacing” pressure from below prompted reform from above—hence, the New Deal reforms in the US and socialist/Social-Democratic reforms in Europe. Combined, these historic developments significantly curtailed the size and the influence of big business and powerful financial interests—alas, only for a while.

    Weakened New Deal

    The New Deal was a crucial turning point in the history of the U.S. government. Politics had never before been so involved in—or exerted more control over—the daily lives of regular Americans as it was during Roosevelt’s terms in office in the 1930s. Critics lamented that the United States had transformed itself into a welfare state. Indeed, the budget deficit increased dramatically every year, and the national debt more than doubled in just ten years.

    Life During the Depression


    The typical woman in the 1930s had a husband who was still employed, although he had probably taken a pay cut to keep his job; if the man lost his job, the family often had enough resources to survive without going on relief or losing all its possessions.

    Dust Bowl Farmers

    The farmers plowed the prairie grasses and planted dry land wheat. As the demand for wheat products grew, cattle grazing was reduced, and millions more acres were plowed and planted.

    African Americans

    It was extremely difficult for a large segment of the population to make a living during the depression. Living conditions were terrible and people lived in extreme poverty. While these conditions affected all segments of society, there is very little known about how African Americans survived during the depression. My goal is to find out, as much information as possible, what it was like to live during the Great Depression from an African Americans' point of view.

    Native Americans

    Native American land had been dramatically reduced from 155 million acres to 48 million acres. Their land was being stripped from them little by little.

  • The job market was depleted and had not been hiring any Native Americans for work.
  • The Native Americans lived in poverty with some of the worst living conditions. The reservations on which they were living on were flooded by disease.
  • This discrimination against the tribes were soon to be over. This was a time of rebuilding the Indian identity.
  • Mexican Americans

    The Great Depression of the 1930s hit Mexican immigrants especially hard. Along with the job crisis and food shortages that affected all U.S. workers, Mexicans and Mexican Americans had to face an additional threat: deportation. As unemployment swept the U.S., hostility to immigrant workers grew, and the government began a program of repatriating immigrants to Mexico. Immigrants were offered free train rides to Mexico, and some went voluntarily, but many were either tricked or coerced into repatriation, and some U.S. citizens were deported simply on suspicion of being Mexican.