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The New Deal and Minorities in America

Historians and sociologists argue that the Great Depression profoundly changed American society because it made people extremely uncertain about their future. In particular, it led to the growing unemployment and homelessness; moreover, many households were brought to the brink of starvation. In turn, the New Deal was often perceived as the glitter of hope by many people at that time. It should be kept in mind that there were many social groups, which were more vulnerable because they were affected by economic difficulties and various forms of discrimination at the same time. For example, one can speak about African-Americans, Hispanics, or women.

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On the whole, one can say that the New Deal did bring some economic relief to these people. Nevertheless, these reforms did not eliminate the mechanism of injustice that disempowered these people or even marginalized them. This is the main argument that should be discussed more closely.

It should be noted that historians do not always agree on the causes of the Great Depression. For example, one can speak about the flawed monetary policies of the government or the crisis or under-consumption (Brinkley, 2013). Nevertheless, they admit that its consequences proved to be disastrous for American society. Among its immediate effects, one can distinguish the bankruptcy of many businesses, declining production, and unemployment (Brinkley, 2013). However, for some people, the Great Depression was even more detrimental. For example, one can speak about African Americans who were more likely to lose jobs at the time, when businesses had to make workers redundant (Weaver, 1935).

Similarly, their employment opportunities were also much more limited. More importantly, they did not have any chance to defend their interests in the court. Secondly, black communities were more likely to be underfunded (Weaver, 1935). It affected many African American children. Similar difficulties were experienced by Native Americans.

Moreover, one can speak about the experiences of women. One should keep in mind that the situation was often aggravated by the financial dependence on males. They needed to do various types of work to sustain their families, but in many cases, they were underpaid. This is one of the practices, which could be taken for granted at that time. In contrast, the position of Hispanic people was made more complicated because they did not always have the status of citizens. Thus, they faced a greater number of hardships during this period. This is the main point that can be made.

In turn, the New Deal was supposed to be the basis for the recovery of American life. Franklin Roosevelt emphasized the idea that the President of the United Stated had to unify the nation. In particular, he said, “No man can occupy the office of President without realizing that he is President of all the people” (Roosevelt, 1936). This use of pathos is one of the reasons why this policy was praised by various members of the society. Admittedly, the New Deal did bring some benefits to minorities, such as black people or African-Americans. In particular, the government increased spending on schools in black neighborhoods (Thomas, 1933).

Moreover, this policy strengthened the food security of many American families. Furthermore, the policy-makers recognized the need to prohibit some blatant discriminatory practices (Weaver, 1935). However, they did not adopt laws that could re-affirm the rights of minority groups. Therefore, the New Deal did not eliminate discriminatory practices, which existed in the United States. A similar argument can be applied to other marginalized groups, including women, Native Americans, or Hispanics.

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Overall, the New Deal is often regarded as the defining turning point in the history of the United States, because it made people hope that the country could overcome its economic and social difficulties in the long term. Nevertheless, economists believe that this set of policies did not help society achieve economic growth (Brinkley, 2013). The country was able to do it only after World War II (Brinkley, 2013).

This is one of the arguments that should be considered since it is important for the objective evaluation of these reforms. Therefore, one can say that researchers are usually skeptical when they discuss the effects of the New Deal. To a great extent, I share their opinions because in many cases, popular perceptions of history are intertwined with myths, while facts are usually more disappointing. This is the main detail that should not be overlooked.

This discussion indicates that the New Deal has very complex legacies, especially for social groups that could be marginalized due to their race, gender, ethnicity, and any other criterion. In particular, this policy had demonstrated that the government would not abandon its citizens at the time of dire need. Nevertheless, the policies designed by the government did not eradicate the underlying cause of problems encountered by minority groups. These are the main limitations that should not be overlooked. Nevertheless, this policy indicated that the government had been more willing to support its citizens. This is why its impacts can be distinguished.

Reference List

Brinkley, A. (2013). The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. Web.

Roosevelt, F. (1936). Transcript of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Radio Address unveiling the second half of the New Deal. Web.

Thomas, J. (1933). Will the New Deal Be A Square Deal For the Negro? Web.

Weaver, R. (1935). The New Deal and the Negro: A Look at the Facts. Web.

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