Themes in American History: Capitalism, Slavery, Democracy

Final Blog Post

“Relation and Relief” by Ruchway details the Great Depression and how the United States managed to get itself out of it. He says the economic policies that President Roosevelt proposed help get the U.S. back on its feet after the depression. Roosevelt polices mirrored his political stance as an isolationist. He didn’t really put any focus on the world outside  of America and overseas trade but instead focused on rebuilding the country. One of the first policies he enacted was the New Deal which was an amalgamation of new policies for banks that would help restore the financial status of America. This included putting a safeguard and new constraints on the banking industry to re-inflate the economy.

Roosevelts plans to dig the country out of this hole turned out to do very well and Ruchway credits him as someone who was not only able to put an end to the depression but also put in failsafe’s to ensure that another financial crisis like the great depression would not happen again. Some of this is due to the Civilian Conservation Corps that would go on to provide many jobs to men across America.

The mot interesting thing about this is not so much the specific matters that it discusses but instead the overall picture. The fact that the Great Depression is something that actually happened in society and had to be dealt with was fascinating. And I wonder if coming out of an era where you have to cherish every cent you can find had any part in furthering the role of the U.S. being a very capitalistic country. Of course America was already capitalistic but I can imagine how much more money and people with money were valued or praised.


One thought on “Final Blog Post”

  1. Some very interesting and original thoughts here. I think yours may be the only post to mention “reflation,” even if only in passing—a term and concept that must be important, since it’s in Rauchway’s title. Since reflation also refers to policies designed to stimulate consumption, I wonder if you could have tied that to the Cohen chapter or other things we’ve read or discussed this semester.

    Your is also one of the few posts to note the lasting legacies of the New Deal era, such as the FDIC and other”failsafes.” As you may know, however, many of these have been watered down or eliminated over the years, or play a different role than they were originally intended.

    Lastly, that’s an interesting thought about how the Depression and New Deal affected people’s psychologies and attitudes towards capitalism. I know that people of my grandparents’ era were always very cautious about money, and wary of advertising and certain kinds of conspicuous consumption. That’s anecdotal of course, but you might say that the Depression made many Americans more skeptical about a certain kind of capitalism and more open to government intervention in the economy, even if they might not have expressed it in those terms.

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