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New Deal, Old South

How FDR Propped Up Jim Crow

Author: Taeku Lee
September/October 2013
Foreign Affairs


In March 1933, with the United States deep in the throes of the Great Depression, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his first inaugural address, warning of the power of fear -- or, more specifically, the danger of "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." Those efforts were the "new deal" that Roosevelt had promised during his campaign, a sweeping reformation of the U.S. economy that would define his first two terms in office and create the foundations for the contemporary American social welfare state: federal aid to the unemployed, stiffer regulation of industry, legal protections for workers, and the Social Security program, among other major innovations.

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