New Deal and American Society

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Prior to the New Deal, America was in a time of crisis. The economy was in a deep depression and social tensions were at the boiling point. The United States underwent dramatic change in social and political ideology after FDR implemented the New Deal. This essay argues that the New Deal positively modified social, political, and labor beliefs of the American society.

Social life prior to the New Deal can be described as very tense. White Males were considered the superior gender and the provider for the family. Meanwhile, white females were seen as less than equal and the keeper of the household. The division between male and female moved into the idea of private vs. public spheres, where women dealt mainly in the private sphere of the household, men dealt mainly in the public sphere of the business and politics. Females were prohibited from politics, because the public sphere of political participation became equated with manhood (Roark 448). These divisions among women and men created tension in society. Increased immigration only added to the overall tension in society. Altogether, more than twenty-five million immigrants came to the United States between 1850 and 1920 (Roark 464). Americans grew cruel towards the rising number of southern and eastern Europe immigrants entering into the U.S. They saw these immigrants as uneducated, uncouth, and primarily competition for jobs. Conflicting ethnic and religious difference among the immigrants also added to the social tension. All of these differences sorted itself out in major cities by social segregation, where most large cities had their China Town, Little Italy, etc. The immense amount of immigration also led to what is called the Red Scare, a high point in social fears of white Americans regarding an immigrant uprising. These fears escalated and on New Years day 1920, when suspected revolutionaries’ houses were raided and imprisoned, known as the Palmer Raids.

As social tensions heightened,...
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