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The New Deal, 1933-41

5. The Legacy of the New Deal

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the longer-term legacy of the New Deal, focusing in particular on: (i) the winding-down of many of the New Deal initiatives with the escalation of war in the early 1940s; (ii) the survival of much of the work carried out as part of work relief programmes, e.g. landscaping in national parks and states parks, roads and bridges, etc.; (iii) the survival of social legislation to the present day; (iv) Roosevelt's success in restoring stability to the financial system; (v) the extent to which the New Deal's economic policies were misguided; (vi) Roosevelt's missteps that led to the 1937/38 recession, and the measures he took to quickly bring the economy out of recession; (vii) the extent to which the 1930s changed economic orthodoxy, especially in relation to the budget deficit; and (viii) the extent to criticism of the New Deal policymakers is justified.


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.


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 - The Legacy of the New Deal [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Fearon, P. "The New Deal, 1933-41 – The Legacy of the New Deal." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 19 Mar 2021,