The major successes of the New Deal, according to Kennedy, were the various social reforms implemented; with him arguing that ‘Into the 5 years of the New Deal was crowded more social change than into virtually any comparable compass of time in the nation’s past’ offering ‘job security, life-cycle security and financial security’ for the people of America.
The long-term perspective that Kennedy adopts, when arguing this, highlights the depth of understanding that he possessed when reaching such a conclusion; thus making his overall argument more credible, thoughtful and convincing. Kennedy claims that the greatest social achievement of the New Deal was its ability to give ‘to countless Americans who had never had much of a sense of security’ and bring them ‘closer to the mainstream of national life’ ; with this interpretation being supported entirely by the provision offered to minority groups through social schemes established under Roosevelt; highlighting the accurate information used in ‘Freedom From Fear’.
Senior citizens, the disabled and the unemployed benefited greatly from the Social Security Act of 1935, designed to combat widespread poverty among minority groups and those unable to support themselves financially; proving the successful nature of social policies that Kennedy alluded to. This program is still in existence today, highlighting the success of Roosevelt’s social policies and enforcing Kennedy’s argument that, in the long term, the New Deal’s social policies ‘extended security to vulnerable individuals, races and classes’. , thus reinforcing the reliability of his source. Kennedy’s argument is complimented by Leuchtenburg who states that ‘The New Deal achieved a more just society by recognizing groups which had been largely unrepresented’ and congress, as a result, successfully ‘extending social security’.
However, despite Kennedy praising the ‘scores of social experiments that flourished’ , he does not attempt to conceal the shortcomings of the New Deal with him admitting that not all of the Social policies implemented under Roosevelt were ‘successful, nor destined to last’. There were various losses for African Americans under the New Deal, despite their increased security and status within society; proving Kennedy’s point entirely. The Federal Housing Program created housing for the poor, but it prioritised white communities and rejected African Americans from housing loans, thus forcing them to remain in underfunded neighbourhoods; with the race divide in society, therefore, remaining prominent and the new Deal failing to remove this problem entirely. As such, It would be ignorant to claim that the New Deal’s policies were entirely effective; with it, ultimately, failing to achieve its fundamental aim of successfully ending the depression.
Kennedy is able to recognise this fact, highlighting his open-minded approach, but continues to claim that, regardless of this, Roosevelt’s New deal succeeded, beyond measure, in ‘building a country from whose basic benefits and privileges no one was excluded.’ with him considering the longer term effects, being able to cite accurate factual details and considering different interpretations and arguments when establishing his opinion; thus making his positive stance on the Social policies of the New Deal, and their overall positive impact on minority groups within America, incredibly convincing.