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The New Deal, 1933-41

4. Social Welfare

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about the social welfare programmes that were introduced as part of the New Deal, focusing in particular on: (i) the failure of the New Deal to reduce unemployment to reasonable levels; (ii) the repercussions of the failure to reduce unemployment on the cost of welfare provision, and on the federal budget deficit; (iii) the establishment of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) in 1933, and the creation of new unskilled jobs in local and state government; (iv) the limitations of relief work: the use of means-testing, the lack of work even for those who were eligible, the restriction of work to 'heads of the household', etc; (v) the kind of work undertaken in work relief programmes; (vi) the replacement of FERA in 1935 with the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and the different between the two programmes; (vii) the limited availability of work relief, and the extent to which certain sections of society lost out disproportionately to others, e.g. racial minorities, migrant workers, etc.; (viii) the impact of the New Deal in voting patterns among African-American voters; (ix) the Social Security Act 1935 and the introduction of social security and old age pensions; (x) the limitations of social security provision by European standards, but their generosity by American standards; and (xi) the extent to which certain sections of society were disproportionately excluded from social security provisions, e.g. racial minorities.

Course

In this course, Professor Peter Fearon (University of Leicester) explores Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. In the first module, we think about the problems facing the US economy when Roosevelt came to power in March 1933, including the almost total collapse of the banking system, high levels of unemployment, and rapid deflation. In the second module, we think about Roosevelt's belief in "bold, persistent experimentation" in tackling these problems, before turning in the third module to explore the initiatives implemented by Roosevelt to support the US businesses – particularly in the financial and agricultural sectors. In the fourth module, we think about the range of social welfare programmes implemented as part of the New Deal – including programmes such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and the establishment of social security and old age pensions – before turning in the fifth module to think about the longer-term legacy of the New Deal.

Lecturer

Professor Peter Fearon is Emeritus Professor of Modern Economic and Social History at the University of Leicester. His research interests centre on economic change in the United States in the 20th century, agricultural history of the mid-West in the 1920s and 1930s and the New Deal economic and social policies.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Fearon, P. (2021, March 19). The New Deal, 1933-41 - Social Welfare [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-new-deal-1933-41/social-welfare

MLA style

Fearon, Peter. "The New Deal, 1933-41 – Social Welfare." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 19 Mar 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-new-deal-1933-41/social-welfare