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Look Inside Building New Deal Liberalism

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


  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521139939

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About the Authors
  • This book provides a 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 reinterpretation of the relationship between the New Deal's welfare state and American liberalism.

    • Was the first historical study of the New Deal's public works programs and the role they played in transforming the American economy, landscape, and political system during the 20th century
    • An example of the 'new political history' that brings together institutions, politics, and the economy
    • A reinterpretation of the relationship between the New Deal's welfare state and American liberalism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The book has much to praise. Smith provides an interesting account of many dramatic changes in policy, explaining how politicians and bureaucrats responded to external events … and to their experiences with the administrative difficulties and corruption that inevitably occur when establishing such large government programs. Furthermore, I found the book very pleasant to read, thanks to the careful writing and citations.' The Journal of Economic History

    'In this impressively researched study of public works in the United States, Jason Scott smith argues that public investment and state-sponsored economic development are essential to a modern economy and that during the period under examination, public investment was used to spur economic development.' History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521139939
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Reevaluating the New Deal state and the public works revolution
    2. Economic development and unemployment in the early New Deal
    3. Making a New Deal state: patronage and the Public Works Administration
    4. The dilemma of New Deal public works: people or projects?
    5. 'Boondoggling' and the welfare state
    6. Party building and 'pernicious political activities': the road to the Hatch Act
    7. Public works and New Deal liberalism in reorganization and war
    8. Public works and the postwar world
    9. Epilogue: public works and the building of New Deal liberalism.

  • Author

    Jason Scott Smith, University of New Mexico
    Jason Scott Smith is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. He previously held a Mellon Fellowship in American Studies at Cornell University, where he was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of History and the Department of Government. In 2001–2 he was the Harvard Newcomen Fellow at the Harvard Business School, where he taught courses on the history of capitalism. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including the Journal of Social History, Pacific Historical Review, Reviews in American History, and the Journal of Interdisciplinary History.

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