Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933–1956

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-09-28
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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This book provides the first historical study of New Deal public works programs and their role in transforming the American economy, landscape, and political system during the twentieth century. Reconstructing the story of how reformers used public authority to reshape the nation, Jason Scott Smith argues that the New Deal produced a revolution in state-sponsored economic development. The scale and scope of this dramatic federal investment in infrastructure laid crucial foundations - sometimes literally - for postwar growth, presaging the national highways and the military-industrial complex. This impressive and exhaustively researched analysis underscores the importance of the New Deal in comprehending political and economic change in modern America by placing political economy at the center of the 'new political history'. Drawing on a remarkable range of sources, Smith provides a groundbreaking reinterpretation of the relationship between the New Deal's welfare state and American liberalism.

Author Biography

Jason Scott Smith is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Mexico.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vi
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Common Abbreviations in Text and Notesp. xiii
Reevaluating the New Deal State and the Public Works Revolutionp. 1
Economic Development and Unemployment during the Early New Dealp. 21
Making a New Deal State: Patronage and the Public Works Administrationp. 54
The Dilemma of New Deal Public Works: People or Projects?p. 85
ôBoondogglingö and the Welfare Statep. 135
Party Building and ôPernicious Political Activitiesö: The Road to the Hatch Actp. 160
Public Works and New Deal Liberalism in Reorganization and Warp. 190
Public Works and the Postwar Worldp. 232
Epilogue: Public Works and the Building of New Deal Liberalismp. 258
Sourcesp. 267
Indexp. 273
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