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The Forgotten Legacy of the New Deal: Fiscal Conservatism and the Roosevelt Administration, 1933-1938

Julian E. Zelizer
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pp. 331-358
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27552097
Page Count: 28
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The Forgotten Legacy of the New Deal: Fiscal Conservatism and the Roosevelt Administration, 1933-1938
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Abstract

This article examines the role of fiscal conservatives in Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal administration. Unlike most existing scholarship on the New Deal, which downplays the importance and complexity of fiscal conservatism in Roosevelt's administration, this article argues that the tradition was crucial to the development of the New Deal state. Through the New Deal, it demonstrates how the histories of liberalism and fiscal conservatism are intimately related. The article focuses on two key advisers—Lewis Douglas, Director of Budget from 1933 to 1934, and Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of Treasury from 1934 to 1945—who were instrumental in making fiscal conservatism a part of President Roosevelt's agenda. While Douglas's rigid orthodox approach eventually isolated him from policy making, Morgenthau's entrepreneurship produced a new vision of moderate fiscal conservatism that could coexist with the New Deal.

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