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Terms in this set (220)

• Congress and nation convulsed over Court-packing plan:
• FDR vilified for attempting to break delicate checks and
balances among three branches
• Accused of grooming himself as dictator by trying to
browbeat judiciary
• To Republicans and some Democrats, basic liberties seemed
in jeopardy
• Court saw ax hanging over its head:
• Justice Owen J. Roberts, a conservative, began to vote with liberal colleagues
• In 1937, Court upheld principle of state minimum wage for women, reversing its
1936 decision
• In succeeding decisions, Court became more sympathetic to New Deal:
• Upheld National Labor Relations Act and Social Security Act
• Roosevelt's "Courtpacking" further undermined when Congress voted full
pay for justices over 70 who retired:
• One of oldest conservatives resigned
• Replaced by New Dealer, Justice Hugo Black
• Congress finally passed court reform bill:
• Watered-down version applied only to lower courts
• Roosevelt suffered first major legislative defeat at hands of his own
party in Congress
• Eventually Court became markedly more friendly to New Deal
reforms
• Succession of deaths and resignations enabled him to make nine
appointments to tribunal—more than any of his predecessors since
George Washington
• Clock "unpacked" Court
• Yet in a sense, FDR lost both Court battle and war:
• So aroused conservatives of both parties in
Congress that few New Deal reforms passed
after 1937, year of fight to "pack" bench
• With this catastrophic miscalculation, he
squandered much of goodwill that carried him to victory in 1936 election
• Yet in a sense, FDR lost both Court battle and war:
• So aroused conservatives of both parties in
Congress that few New Deal reforms passed
after 1937, year of fight to "pack" bench
• With this catastrophic miscalculation, he
squandered much of goodwill that carried him to victory in 1936 election
• Alleged waste, incompetence, confusion, contradictions,
and cross-purposes
• As well as graft in alphabetical agencies—"alphabet
soup," sneered Al Smith
• Deplored employment of "crackpot" college
professors, leftist "pinkos," and outright Communists
• Claimed New Dealers trying to make U.S.A. over in
Bolshevik-Marxist image under "Rooseveltski"
• Promises of budget balancing flew out window
• National debt in 1932 = $19,487,000,000
• Sky rocketed by 1939 to $40,440,000,000
• America becoming "handout state;" U.S. stood for "unlimited
spending"
• Businessmen bitter:
• Accused New Deal of fomenting class strife
• Conservatives insisted laborers and farmers being pampered
• Businessmen wanted government off their backs
• Private enterprise being stifled by "planned economy,"
"planned bankruptcy" and "creeping socialism"
• States' rights ignored, while government competed in
business with its own citizens, under "dictatorship of do-
gooders"
• Roosevelt's leadership denounced:
• "One-man supergovernment"
• Heavy fire against attempts to browbeat Supreme Court
and create "dummy Congress"
• Tried to "purge" Congress of Democrats who would
not march in lockstep with him
• Three senators whom he publicly opposed all reelected
• Most damning indictment of New Deal:
• Failed to cure depression
• Floating in sea of red ink, it had only administered aspirin, sedatives, and
Band-Aids
• $20 billion poured out in six years of deficit spending and lending
• Gap not closed between production and consumption
• More farm surplus under Roosevelt than under Hoover
• Millions still unemployed in 1939 after six years of drain, strain, and
pain
• New Dealers staunchly defended record:
• Some waste, but pointed out that relief—not economy—had
been primary objective
• Some graft, but argued it had been trivial in view of immense
sums spent and obvious need for haste
• New Deal relieved worst of crisis in 1933
• Promoted philosophy of "balancing the human budget"
• Washington regime to be used, not feared
• Collapse of America's economic system averted
• Fairer distribution of national income achieved
• Citizens able to regain and retain self-respect
• Though hated by business tycoons, FDR should have been
their patron saint
• Deflected popular resentments against business
• May have saved American system of free enterprise
• His quarrel not with capitalism but with capitalists
• Purged American capitalism of some of its worst abuses
• Headed off radical swing to left
• Claimed that New Deal did not bankrupt United States
• Massive national debt caused by WWII, not New Deal
• National debt = $40 billion in 1939; $258 billion in 1945
• FDR provided bold reform without bloody revolution
• Upbraided by left-wing radicals for not going far enough, by right-wing
radicals for going too far
• Choosing middle road, Roosevelt has been called greatest American
conservative since Hamilton
• Hamiltonian in espousal of big government, but Jeffersonian in
concern for "forgotten man"
• Demonstrating value of presidential leadership, he exercised power to
relieve erosion of nation's greatest resource—its people
• Helped preserve democracy in America at a time when democracies
abroad disappearing to dictatorship
• Unwittingly girded nation for its part in titanic war that loomed on
horizon—a war in which democracy the world over would be at stake