New Deal Era: the Beginning of Modern American Society

Historians say that the New Deal era is the beginning of modern American society.

Many also say it was the beginning of the Imperial Presidential era. It was also a time when the quality of life had raised in a time of war. Life expectancy went up three years for whites and five years for blacks. (HIST 222 lecture, 28 OCT 10) There are many reasons why people consider the New Deal era the beginning of modern society, but the new reforms and programs, new women and new Negros, and the new consumer life style are the most evident and important.

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The New Deal brought many reforms and programs to America that is still present today. One part of the new deal that still affects Americans today is Social Security, which was passed in 1935. (Nation, 743) When it was introduced, each retired American over 60 would get $200 a month. Not every retired American would receive Social Security, however. Among some of the jobs that did not receive social security were agricultural jobs and jobs that minorities had. (HIST 222 lecture, 26 OCT 10) Social Security also helped with dependent children and insurance for people who had been laid off from work.

Nation, 743) Social Security has a huge part in why this age is the beginning of modern society. People who grew up in America with social security have always felt that no matter what goes wrong the government can be there to give aide. People in this age, and people in the present day, have the luxury of government help, which was not always the case in America.

One big change that the New Deal era and World War II brought to American culture was the appearance of new women and new Negros. Before the war, it was unheard of for women to be working long hours and getting paid good money for it. HIST 222 lecture, 19 OCT 10) This era was the beginning of women working permanently. (HIST 222 lecture, 28 OCT 10) It was also unheard of for Negros to have jobs and make money.

With both of these groups working, there was more money to be spent on products. These new women began to become more political. They cut their hair short, smoked in public, and discussed Freud in public. (HIST 222 lecture, 19 OCT 10) Although women or blacks were still not treated fairly, and were definitely not treated as well as white men, they were treated better than they had been before.It was a step in the right direction, and a step which lead to the Women’s Rights Movements and the Civil Rights Movements.

In my opinion, modern America revolves around consumerism. The most important thing on a company’s mind is: what does the consumer want? The New Deal era is the era where this new urban consumer lifestyle is introduced. (HIST 222 lecture, 19 OCT 10) Everything was made to have the effect to “be easier on people”. This was the era when Henry Ford introduced the automobile, which is one of the most important things an American can own today.This is also the time when Hollywood movies came out, so every American was watching, hearing, and learning the same things. (HIST 222 lecture, 19 OCT 10) This, in my opinion, is the definition of American living today. During this time, overproduction started to creep up.

The Americans that lived during this time do not really know what it is like to have a scarcity of many materials. There Americans always lived in an age of a thriving economy. Many people say the New Deal era was the beginning of modern society. The new reforms and programs that were introduced in the New Deal are still vital to Americans today.The fact that more women and blacks were working during the New Deal era shows that this era was moving forward to become a more modern America. In my opinion, however, the most important example of the New Deal being the beginning of modern America was the introduction of consumerism. Americans born a part of the baby boom generation lived there entire lives in a prosperous America.

(HIST 222 lecture, 28 OCT 10) The New Deal era was the beginning of a modern America that would never see the struggles it had faced in the past.

Author: Don Hines


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