In this piece, the author first dives into the debates represented by political sociologists about the political change during the New Deal, their issues and recent thoughts about the New Deal. He starts voicing his concern with the fact that many policy arenas throughout the New Deal have been given little to no recognition while others are put on a new level for the whole United States to argue. Distinguished sociologists present the four models Manza goes into depth about but he states, “virtually no individual analyst is wedded solely to one theoretical model” (Manza, 300). The first model presented is the Political Struggle Models that basically says in short, that the reforms following the Great Depression within the New Deal led to intense labor problems by social events of minority groups forcing compromises from political elites. The second model presented is the Business-Centered Models that reacts to the reform changes of the activities of certain groups and corporate leaders. Next, the Feminist Analyses Model is obviously a more current collection of thoughts. The New Deal primarily targeted men and families with men bringing in the largest income. Women’s organizations and work toward politics were beginning to be represented more and create a different path to welfare in the U.S. The Historical Institutional Models explores the differences within politics the United States since the New Deal. Specifically this model focuses on federalism, the power of federal and state courts, and the decentralization of power in government, legislative supermajorities, and the weakness of bureaucracy within Congress.
Some of the reforms of the New Deal were created in response to racial issues. The Housing Act of 1934 and the Federal Housing Administration helped to build upon the future racial inequality. Manza references the political geography of the U.S. played a role in the impact of the New Deal. Southern states and their politicians shaped the Democratic Party with their approval of programs that had federal resources in combination with local control. The 1930’s were a time that labor made great impact within its history. Labor radicalism and organized labor played an immense part in building industrial unions and the opposition of the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
The Social Bases represented is what I think to be the meat of this article. Who supported the New Deal is an age-old question Manza attempts to answer with two underlying factors: electoral realignment and campaign finance during the 1930s. Electoral realignment relied heavily on class divisions while the Democratic vote origin is hard to uncover based on the lack of research. A certain group, according to Webber and Domhoff, didn’t “run” campaign finance. Southerners and Jews were more likely to support the Democrats while business leaders throughout this period were and continued to be Republican.
Manza’s extensive research on the New Deal and its models represented by other political sociologists has led me to understand more of how this changed the United States and outlined the importance of social science within politics.
The models represented throughout this article were exhausted with facts and different perspectives that I did and didn’t agree with. The Feminist Analyses Model informed me of outlooks I had not thought out. The New Deal programs and reforms targeted families with male breadwinners and almost completely disregarded single (female) parent homes. The article touches on the fact that women’s organizations made a great impact on the Progressive era but there shouldn’t be a divide. The fact that the New Deal was a period of welfare state building in favor of men instead of people in general just doesn’t sit right with me. I can understand this was the 1930’s and women’s rights weren’t exactly respected completely. I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the article but that’s because it appealed to a time in American history where politics were strictly driven by what a certain social group wanted.
Although I just focused on the negatives of this article, completely expected, because I am a woman, there are some positives. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of FDR and admire the work he did to bring the economy out of the gutter. Honestly, not even the economy but the social barriers he broke were tremendous. America is and always has been a melting pot.
Manza does a great job at pointing out that the opinions and views that are expressed throughout these models aren’t a base line on what people should believe. I respect the fact that he does a great job at making sure you have your own opinion while also giving you the facts to make an EDUCATED opinion. Young people these days will believe anything they read and the information that could be attained is left unread.
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