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FDR and the Depression
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The End Of The New Deal

The New Deal essentially ended with the midterm elections of 1938, when Roosevelt's attempt to purge his Democratic party of conservatives backfired. The Republicans bounced back, retaking six Senate and 81 House seats, along with the governorships of five states considered safely Democratic. The shift gave the Republicans enough clout to join with their anti-New Deal Democratic colleagues to block legislation emanating from the White House; and they did just that, burying the New Deal under a series of hostile congressional votes.

The deal had been good for America while it lasted. The net of social and economic programs his administration created staked Roosevelt's claim to salvaging American capitalism and reinvigorating the nation's faith in democracy. After all, the President's massive reform effort had redefined the relationship between the United States and its citizens by giving Americans unheard-of federal guarantees, both economic and social.

The New Deal did not pull America out of the Great Depression, World War II would take care of that, but FDR's bold programs certainly went a long way toward lifting the nation out of its deepest economic doldrums. Its permanent institutional reforms gave Americans a greater sense of economic security and social justice. In the end, both Roosevelts, Franklin and Eleanor, convinced their countrymen that they really did have nothing to fear but fear itself, at least at home. For there was indeed something to fear across the Atlantic.

By early 1939 the winds of war were lashing the European continent from Berlin. To the west, unbeknownst to the Roosevelt administration, Imperial Japan was preparing for a secret military attack on Hawaii. President Roosevelt, and the American people he led, would be called upon to fight yet another World War.

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