In the aftermath of the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent economic collapse, the American people elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932, an election which began a period of marginalization for the Republican Party that would last, in one way or another, for decades. Democrats would win seven of the nine presidential elections beginning in 1932, and they would hold both houses of Congress for much of the next 60 years. Franklin Roosevelt would capitalize on the tenor of the times, as he and the Democrats implemented policy after policy at the federal level. By the close of this period, the transformation of federalism was complete.
… This was a process, in the end, which began with the inability of the Framers of the Constitution to address America’s slavery issue at the time of the Founding. There is no telling how, or even if, things would have played out differently over time had that issue been resolved in 1787. However, there is no denying the role that slavery played in causing the Civil War and the ratification of the post-Civil War Amendments, which opened the door—in no small part—to the reformulation of American federalism, and to the growth of the federal government.
- Do you find Roosevelt’s speech compelling? How do his rhetorical strategies compare to President Obama or President Trump? Was there really nothing to fear?
- Imagine how the country might have developed had slavery been abolished with the Constitution. What would have been different? What might have been the same?
This reading is an excerpt from Certell’s Common Sense Government eBook. Certell offers curriculum materials and eBooks free of charge for use by students and teachers. Click Here to download the Common Sense Government materials.
Keller, R. Dwight Kurt Schrute III Spider Meme. Certell. June 6, 2018. https://www.certell.org/mini_lessons/nothing-to-fear/