POL 150C1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: American Exceptionalism, Egalitarianism, Living Wage

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POL 150: Politics of Happiness - Lecture 5: American Exceptionalism
Monday 9/22/14
FDR and the New Deal
FDR (Pres. 1933-45)
Comes to power in wake of the Great Depression (1929-’39)
IN response to the Great Depression, FDR promoted the “New Deal."
Some policies come through laws, while many come as executive orders.
Oversaw U.S.’s WWII effort
Legacy of support for strong (federal) government and expansion of substantive
The New Deal’s most lasting impacts:
Social Security, provides a social safety for aging citizens
GI bill, funding for returning soldiers so they can attend college
Little known FDR initiative: an “economic bill of rights” (1944)
“All rights are political rights”
Proposal in State of the Union Address, January 11, 1944.
Political guarantees of the Constitution & Bill of Rights “proved inadequate to
assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness”; need for a second “economic bill
of rights.”
Proposed rights:
Employment, with a living wage
Freedom from unfair competition & monopolies
■ Housing
Medical Care
■ Education
Social Security
Only Lasting result: GI Bill
FDR served as a major symbol of inspiration in Europe for what they term “social
Successors: Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Barack Obama.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
Strong woman, bright, pushing force behind FDR.
Human rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
Helping the poor and empowering people of color. (pushed an anti-lynching law)
Could be considered the most important woman in American political
history/American Dream
“The American Dream” an additional thought
“Always diverse, generally welcoming, attention to engaging the marginalized.”
Expansion of the “American Dream”
At independence the “American Dream” only applied to a very small minority of
the population living in the U.S.
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