In this bold reevaluation of a decisive moment in American history, Michael Hiltzik dispels decades of accumulated myths and misconceptions about the New Deal to capture with clarity and immediacy its origins, its legacy, and its dubious value as an instrument of social policy.


HONORABLE LEWIS D. DOUGLAS

HONORABLE LEWIS D. DOUGLAS

The New Deal : a modern history  Michael Hiltzik  New York : Free Press, 2011  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. x, 497 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 465-471) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG 

Rexford Tugwell, Ass't Secty. of Agriculture

Rexford Tugwell, Ass’t Secty. of Agriculture

Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal began as a program of short-term emergency relief measures and evolved into a truly transformative concept of the federal government’s role in Americans’ lives. More than an economic recovery plan, it was a reordering of the political system that continues to this day. Hiltzik offers fresh insights into this inflection point in the American experience.

Ickes asks for full control of Bonneville Dan project. Washington, D.C., July 18. In an appearance before the House Rivers and Harbors Committee today, Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes asked congress to give him full control over the Bonneville Dam project in Oregon. He said he favored a bill introduced by Rep. Walter Pierce because the Secretary of Interior was "charged with the responsibility of the Bonneville project but was without authority to appoint authorities at the project, excepting only the Administrator." Ickes added he felt he should also be permitted to appoint the subordinates as well as the administrator, 7/18/39

Ickes asks for full control of Bonneville Dan project. Washington, D.C., July 18. In an appearance before the House Rivers and Harbors Committee today, Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes asked congress to give him full control over the Bonneville Dam project in Oregon. He said he favored a bill introduced by Rep. Walter Pierce because the Secretary of Interior was “charged with the responsibility of the Bonneville project but was without authority to appoint authorities at the project, excepting only the Administrator.” Ickes added he felt he should also be permitted to appoint the subordinates as well as the administrator, 7/18/39

Here is an intimate look at the alchemy that allowed FDR to mold his multifaceted and contentious inner circle into a formidable political team. The New Deal: A Modern History shows how Roosevelt, through the force of his personality, commanded the loyalty of the rock-ribbed fiscal conservative Lewis Douglas and the radical agrarian Rexford Tugwell alike; of Harold Ickes and Harry Hopkins, one a curmudgeonly miser, the other a spendthrift idealist; of Henry Morgenthau, gentleman farmer of upstate New York; and of Frances Perkins, a prim social activist with her roots in Brahmin New England. Yet the same character traits that made him so supple and self-confident a leader would sow the seeds of the New Deal’s end, with a shocking surge of Rooseveltian misjudgments.

Hopkins denies AGC Charges. Washington, D.C. October 11. In a radio speech this morning WPA Administrator, Harry Hopkins, denied charges made by the Associated General Contractors of America that the WPA should be blamed for labor shortage. He said that "WPA projects in communities have been efficiently run and that the unemployed on these projects have been well treated, when the AGC complained that cities were unable to find workers because they were all employed in the WPA. When charged of boondoggling, Hopkins replied that it reminded him of the "Old Story of the bandits in South America," He said "they are never in the town which you are visiting, they are always just over the hill, and the townspeople will tell you they are there but when you look for them you never find them"

Hopkins denies AGC Charges. Washington, D.C. October 11. In a radio speech this morning WPA Administrator, Harry Hopkins, denied charges made by the Associated General Contractors of America that the WPA should be blamed for labor shortage. He said that “WPA projects in communities have been efficiently run and that the unemployed on these projects have been well treated, when the AGC complained that cities were unable to find workers because they were all employed in the WPA. When charged of boondoggling, Hopkins replied that it reminded him of the “Old Story of the bandits in South America,” He said “they are never in the town which you are visiting, they are always just over the hill, and the townspeople will tell you they are there but when you look for them you never find them”

Understanding the New Deal may be more important today than at any time in the last eight decades. Conceived in response to a devastating financial crisis born of excessive speculation, indifferent regulation of banks and investment houses, and disproportionate corporate influence over the White House and Congress the New Deal remade the country’s economic and political environment in six years of intensive experimentation.

Time to cut debt, claims Morgenthau. Henry Morgenthau (Sec. of Trans.) appearing as first witness Monday before House Ways & Means Committee session [...] President Roosevelt's request for "tax the rich" revenue. Morgenthau claimed it was time to raise cash to "meet expenses" and to "make substantial reductions in the public debt." The money raised should be used for this purpose, he said, and not for "new government expenditures," 7/8/35

Time to cut debt, claims Morgenthau. Henry Morgenthau (Sec. of Trans.) appearing as first witness Monday before House Ways & Means Committee session […] President Roosevelt’s request for “tax the rich” revenue. Morgenthau claimed it was time to raise cash to “meet expenses” and to “make substantial reductions in the public debt.” The money raised should be used for this purpose, he said, and not for “new government expenditures,” 7/8/35


FDR rejected free market theories and so had no effective model for fighting the worst economic downturn in his generation’s experience. Unfortunately the New Deal has provided a model for subsequent presidents who faced challenging economic conditions. Hiltzik tells the story of how the New Deal was made, demonstrating that its precepts did not spring fully conceived from the mind of FDR before or after he took office. From first to last the New Deal was a work in progress, a patchwork of often contradictory ideas. Far from reflecting solely progressive principles, the New Deal also accommodated such conservative goals as a balanced budget and the suspension of antitrust enforcement. Some programs that became part of the New Deal were borrowed from the Republican administration of Herbert Hoover; indeed, some of its most successful elements were enacted over FDR’s opposition.

Labor Secretary arrives for meeting of Council for Industrial Progress. Washington, D.C., Dec. 11. Management and Labor. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins escorted by John G. Paine, Chairman of the Employers Group in the Berry Industrial-Labor Council, arrives for the meeting of Industry and Labor. Addressing the conference, Mme Perkins predicted that the "upward swing of recovery" will be continued. The Government, she said, will stand by to aid in the accomplishment of this objective

Labor Secretary arrives for meeting of Council for Industrial Progress. Washington, D.C., Dec. 11. Management and Labor. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins escorted by John G. Paine, Chairman of the Employers Group in the Berry Industrial-Labor Council, arrives for the meeting of Industry and Labor. Addressing the conference, Mme Perkins predicted that the “upward swing of recovery” will be continued. The Government, she said, will stand by to aid in the accomplishment of this objective

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