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Historical document analysis - Essay Example

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There are many ways in which the era of the new deal was very similar to the era we live in now: America was attempting to recover from the greatest financial collapse of living memory, the lifestyle of the average American was much worse than it had been a few years before, and…
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Download file to see previous pages e for lower taxes and so on, during the great deal people espoused an increased role of government, which could act to ensure the welfare of less fortunate people, serve as a safety net, regulate the rules of the economic game, and ensure that everyone could live a life of dignity and have a chance at happiness. This week’s readings demonstrate that the dynamics of today’s recession have been fundamentally a part of American politics for almost a century. Though all three documents show some degree of recognition that the previous function of the American economy had become untenable, and that some new actions must take place to protect the poor and those with less control over their economic destiny, they also show a repeating, recognizable pattern that has continued to this day – a left which elected a president on the hopes of broadly redistributing wealth, a president that had to back off of his initial promise for pragmatic reasons and thus anger his own constituents, and a right outraged by the entire process, glumly acknowledging that perhaps a social safety net was necessary, but calling any real redistribution of wealth socialism and anti-American.
One of the most remarkable things upon reading these three texts is the fact that Roosevelt, even while still simply campaigning for president rather than actually being president, seemed very conscious of his place in history, and of the requirements of pragmatism that holding the presidency would entail. Instead of opening his speech with the kind of emotional call to action that can be so common in election year campaigning, Roosevelt opens with a somewhat dry recitation of presidential history, invoking Jefferson’s famous duel with Maddison over the role of the government (165). So even before becoming president, Roosevelt was conscious of the way history might view him and his actions, and was conscious of the pragmatic demands of his office. This led to his criticism of the financial system, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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