Slides in this set
The New Deal attracted much opposition from the political Left because it was
not radical enough and from the Right of the political spectrum for doing too
However, until 1937-38, he appeared to have been more concerned by his
opponents on the left whom he felt were threatening to undermine free
enterprise and the basic political and social structure in the USA.
1933 witnessed an explosion of press from militant farming groups and violent
strikes amongst groups of workers.
The American Communist Party polled 102,000 votes in 1932, whilst
admittedly is far behind the 22.8 million for Roosevelt it showed that ulterior
motives were certainly considered.
In fact, it was not the political parties who gathered mass following but rather a
series of maverick individuals who raised remarkable levels of support.…read more
OPPOSITION FROM THE RIGHT
Liberty League = In April 1934 they set up despite supporting Roosevelt in
the darkest days of the Depression as the savior of capitalism. The shift
was in part due to the increases in taxes which they opposed and too
much government involvement.
It was set up `to foster the right to work, earn, save and acquire property'
by promoting private property and private enterprise.
It included some prominent democrats such as ex-presedential candidate
Al Smith and important businessmen like Alfred Sloan (general motors)
To many of America's richest citizens, Roosevelt was `a traitor to his class'.
At the time, Roosevelt was more concerned about threats from the left.…read more
LEFT THREATS UPTON SINCLAIR
In 1934, Sinclair stood as Democratic Governor in California and
gained much credibility.
The novelist came up with a radical programme which was almost a
revolutionary socialist programme.
It was most commonly known as EPIC End Poverty In California.
It demanded radical redistribution of wealth and state ownership of
economic activities to provide employment for the unemployed.
Sinclair lost to the republic candidate, whom was guided by the film
industry, but still polled 870,000 votes.…read more
DR FRANCIS TOWNSEND
Whilst he was eminently respected already, his scheme for large old age
pensions was very radical and proved massively popular.
Only 28 states had any kind of old age pensions ranging from $8 -
$30/month but Townsend proposed a scale of pension much larger in 1933.
He proposed that everyone over the age of 60 should be paid
$200/month on the understanding that they spent every cent and saved
The ideas was that this would boost consumption and thereby production
and so pull the USA out of the Depression, it would enrich a poverty stricken
group and would put money in the economy.
Throughout 1934, Townsend clubs were founded and by 1935, they had
membership of over 500,000. Nevertheless, how the pensions were to be
paid was largely guesswork which was hopelessly wrong.…read more
FATHER CHARLES COUGHLIN
The voice of Charles Coughlin began to be heard across the USA with his
radio programme ` the Golden Hour of the Little Flower' which was
enormously influential in the first half of the 1930s which regularly
commanded audiences of 30-40 million and listeners contributed more
than $5 million per year to his parish.
Initially he was a supporter of Roosevelt but by late 1934 he was becoming
increasingly critical as he believed Roosevelt had not done enough to the
banking system as he believed banks should be nationalised. He was known
for speaking of "relief which failed to relieve".
Roosevelt was concerned about Coughlin particularly when a possible
alliance with Huey Long was suggested but Long was assassinated and
Coughlin became increasingly anti-Semitic blaming Jews for both the New
Deal and the control of Wall Street. He became so volatile that the Church
authorities had to intervene.…read more