POL 150C1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: American Exceptionalism, Egalitarianism, Living Wage
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POL 150: Politics of Happiness - Lecture 5: American Exceptionalism
● 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
○ Proposed rights:
■ Employment, with a living wage
■ Freedom from unfair competition & monopolies
■ Medical Care
■ 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
● “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.