By William Chafe
The hot Deal validated the contours and personality of contemporary American democracy. It created an anchor and a reference element for American politics during the struggles for racial, gender, and financial equality within the 5 a long time that it. From the consensus liberalism of the struggle years to the strident liberalism of the sixties to the besieged liberalism of the eighties and during the continuing nationwide debates approximately welfare reform and Social defense privatization, the favorite historians accumulated the following discover the convoluted historical past of the yank Left.
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They allowed big industrial firms to keep their prices up without having to fear being undercut by competitors. But small businesses often could not compete with larger firms unless they undercut them in price; forcing small businesses to charge the same as large ones, which the codes tried to do, often meant robbing them of their only access to the market. Despite Section 7a, the code authorities permitted labor virtually no role at all in setting their guidelines. Workers organized, but companies continued to refuse to bargain with them.
Nor did the New Deal do very much to address some of the principal domestic challenges of the postwar era. Roosevelt was not unsympathetic to the problems of African Americans, and he made sure that his relief programs offered benefits (even if not always equal ones) to blacks as well as whites. But he was never willing to challenge the central institutions of racial oppression the new deal experiments 17 in American life, fearful that to do so would damage the Democratic Party in the South and lose him the critical support of powerful southerners in Congress.
Precisely what kind of reform, however, remained a question. For Bryan, then Wilson, reform had meant government aid to farmers and small enterprisers, low tariffs, regulation of big business, some social legislation, and tentative ties to organized labor. Wilson’s 1916 campaign had been waged on policies that established a basis for the grand coalition of interest groups that would be solidified by Franklin Roosevelt. 8 Never firmly aligned with the northeastern wing of the party, Roosevelt had many personal and emotional ties to the Wilson administration, which had been heavily southern-western in tone while reaching out to the northeastern Democrats.
The Achievement of American Liberalism by William Chafe