New Class on FDR’s New Deal

August 29, 2023—Ninety years ago, incoming President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the New Deal, one of the most transformative economic programs the United States has ever seen.  But what was the New Deal? Ask some Americans and they will tell you it was “socialist” big government and the source of infinite evils. Others praise it as a much-needed adoption of social welfare programs which saved our nation from disaster.

New Class on FDR's New Deal
FDR signs the legislation creating the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), an infrastructure project that brought progress to one of the poorest parts of the country.

Two weeks from now, on September 12 and 19, public historian Nancy Spannaus will offer a different perspective in a two-part Zoom class entitled “Let’s take a new look at the New Deal.” The class is sponsored by Long Island University’s Hutton House, which sponsors lectures for lifelong learners.

You can register for the class by going online at https://webapps3.liu.edu/huttonhouse and paying the required fee.

Drawing on her work on Alexander Hamilton, Spannaus will present FDR’s New Deal as a vital revival of Hamilton’s American System of economics, and make the case that his principles are still needed today. She devoted a chapter to FDR in her 2019 book Hamilton Versus Wall Street: The Core Principles of the American System of Economics, in which she documented the fact that, faced with one of the most severe economic crises the United States had ever undergone, the self-proclaimed Jefferson-admirer Franklin Roosevelt had to choose Hamilton’s economic approach in order to bring the country out of the Depression.

Spannaus’s two-hour classes feature a rich sampling of primary source documents, in addition to elaborating the economic impact of government policy-making. While FDR was not a prolific writer, his array of policy speeches supports the conclusion that he consciously applied the principles of Hamilton’s American System of Economics.

The systematic take-down of FDR’s policies of investment and regulation over the last 50 years has played the decisive role in bringing the U.S. economy, and especially its infrastructure, into the disastrous state it is in today. It’s long past time to get the real story behind FDR’s New Deal, and begin to reverse our nation’s decline.

Register today at https://webapps3.liu.edu/huttonhouse.

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