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2. Roosevelt the Reformer
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the reasons for and nature of Roosevelt's shift to the left in the so-called second hundred days of 1935, focusing in particular on: (i) Roosevelt’s economic of strategy of reflation, including his decision to take the United States off the gold standard; (ii) the extent of the economic problems facing the country in 1935 and the reasons that Roosevelt felt he had to pass meaningful legislation; (iii) the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act and the creation of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which employed millions of job-seekers to carry out public works projects; (iv) the growing opposition to Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, from the Southern Democrats (who thinks it goes too far), left-wing demagogues such as Huey Long (who thinks it doesn’t go far enough), and from the Supreme Court (who think parts of it are unconstitutional); (v) Roosevelt’s reaction to growing opposition – the passage of several key pieces of legislation, including the National Labor Relations Act (5 July 1935), the Social Security Act (14 August), the Public Utility Holding Company Act (26 August), and the Revenue Act (30 August); (vi) the presidential campaign of 1936, and the extent to which Roosevelt redefines the concept of liberty in the national conversation; and (vii) the reasons for Roosevelt’s landslide victory in the 1936 presidential election.
In this course, Professor Iwan Morgan (University College, London) explores the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45), widely-regarded as one of the greatest presidents in US history. In the first module, we think about Roosevelt’s road to the presidency and the unprecedented level of legislative activity that marked his first hundred days in power. In the second module, we think about the reasons for Roosevelt's shift to the left in his second legislative burst in 1935-36, before turning in the third module to his battle with the Supreme Court. In the fourth module, we explore the transformation of the Democratic Party under Roosevelt and the emerging tension between the party’s traditional base in the South and the new (liberal, urban, minority) constituencies that entered the party in the 1930s. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about Roosevelt’s transformation of the presidency itself, including his unprecedented role in legislation, the economy, the judiciary, and foreign affairs.
Iwan Morgan is Professor of US Studies at the Institute of the Americas, University College London, and also holds an honorary position as Commonwealth Fund Chair of American History in the UCL Department of History.
Professor Morgan is a distinguished fellow of the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. He was awarded the British Association of American Studies Honorary Fellowship in 2014 in recognition of his contributions to the discipline over the course of his career; his work The Age of Deficits (Kansas University Press, 2009), won the American Politics Group's 2010 Richard Neustadt Book Prize.
Professor Morgan has published widely in various fields of modern US political history and in political economy. Much of his work has a presidential focus. He is director of the United States Presidency Centre. He was also chair of the executive committee of the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States from 2007 to 2013. He was a member of the executive committee of the British Association of American Studies in 2009-2012.
Cite this Lecture
Morgan, I. (2020, May 05). The Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-45 - Roosevelt the Reformer [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-franklin-d-roosevelt-1933-45/roosevelt-the-reformer
Morgan, I. "The Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-45 – Roosevelt the Reformer." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 May 2020, https://massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-franklin-d-roosevelt-1933-45/roosevelt-the-reformer