The FDIC is one of Roosevelt's most notable legacies. However, New deal economics have largely fallen by the wayside. The neo-liberal market economy that prevailed in the latter decades of the 20th century counteracts the inherent socialism of the New Deal.
A series of public works programs like the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Public Works Association (PWA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) helped stimulate the American economy in the wake of the Depression. Public works projects resulted in improved transportation infrastructures, which would become increasingly important during the age of the automobile.
The New Deal also resulted in improved labor laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and therefore offered tacit support for labor unions. One of the most lasting legacies of the New Deal was the Social Security Act, encouraging investments in pensions which would also stimulate the economy. Although Social Security is currently a controversial issue, it has nevertheless had long-term benefits for Americans. New Deal policies were on the whole idealistic and workable had Americans been more receptive to the underlying tenets of liberal democracies with socialist underpinnings.
4. World War Two marked a new era for American domestic and foreign policy. The United States emerged from its shell and became a world superpower, an empire no less powerful or influential than Rome was 2000 years ago. The Cold War solidified America's position on the world's stage because the Untied States also had an arch-nemesis: the Soviet Union. Being able to point a finger at an enemy of democracy and civil rights allowed the United States to assert its moral superiority. The United States capitalized well on its newfound role as the economic, political, and ethical role model of the world.
The current rhetoric guiding American foreign policy in the "war on terror" mirrors that which occurred during the Cold War. America views itself as a champion of democracy and civil liberties. As a result, most Americans tolerated restrictions on civil liberties during the Cold War, reaching a peak with McCarthyism. During the war on terror, the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act has served a similar purpose. Ironically, many Americans developed a newfound mistrust of the federal government during the Cold War, after Nixon resigned. In spite of setbacks and signs that the American character was flawed, the United States readily maintained its position as a righteous superpower by claiming an ethical aversion to the communist threat and now, to the terrorist threat.
American hegemony grew increasingly problematic after Vietnam. The United States took an increasingly aggressive position in international affairs by interfering in the sovereignty of other nations, including Central American and Middle Eastern countries. Moreover, American hegemony could no longer be attributed to a well-meaning anti-communist stance. World War Two also ushered in a new era of commercial success that helped America assume its position of power in the world and commercial success enabled the United States to engage in a new form of imperialism: one that was not based on the official acquisition of land. Instead, the United States involvement abroad ensured fertile ground for American economic interests. Consciously or not, Americans used their political and economic successes to spread American social and cultural values.
After President Reagan helped the Soviet Union dissolve, the United States continued to act almost as a parent to the rest of the world and especially the developing world. Having a strong economy has helped America retain its political clout in the trans-national organizations that evolved in response to World War Two including the United Nations and the World Bank. However, the superpower status of America seems to have passed its peak. The European Union and other regional blocs could potentially create a more egalitarian international community.
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