Polychronicon 177: The New Deal in American history

Teaching History feature

By Tony Badger, published 16th December 2019

Over 50 years ago I read my first serious book on American history. I can still remember the excitement of reading William E. Leuchtenburg’s Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932–1940. His description of FDR and American politics in the 1930s seemed so much more colourful and dramatic than the politics of Britain, either in 1966 or in the 1930s. I later discovered that enthusiasm for the New Deal was shared, in the 1930s, by British observers as disparate as Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Denis Healey and Isaiah Berlin. They saw Roosevelt as refreshing evidence that democracies need not be paralysed in the face of economic crisis and the rise of totalitarianism...

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