Conservative Constraints: North Carolina and the New Deal
The New Deal poured millions of dollars into North Carolina, improved tobacco prices, and brought the state substantial uplift through public works projects. Yet by the end of the decade it is curious how little of North Carolina's society, economy, and politics had been changed.
Conservative Constraints, the first detailed book-length study of this phenomenon, comprehensively assesses the New Deal and its remarkable effects upon the Tarheel State. Focused primarily upon political and administrative history, it reveals a harsh truth. Despite their great expense and urgent social fervor the progressive New Deal programs were neutralized in North Carolina by the forces of conservatism.
Since early in this century North Carolina has enjoyed a reputation as one of the most progressive of southern states. The accuracy of this image, however, has been tested by recent political incidents and by the perspectives of notable figures from North Carolina whose political platforms can be traced to roots in the thirties. In Conservative Constraints North Carolina's traditional image of liberalism, which emerged during the period of the New Deal, is shown in a new light. As imparted in this book's extensive research of primary and secondary resources, the history of the time shows in fact that impediments from the political right blocked progressive policies and that New Deal reforms were negated or modified.
The history of the period reveals that probusiness politicians dominated state government and thwarted change on several fronts, from gubernatorial to congressional. Though tobacco and cotton farmers embraced agricultural policies that meant higher prices, this same group resisted New Deal efforts at rural and urban relief. Moreover, when conservatives expressed enthusiasm for the New Deal agendas, too often their fervor merely cloaked economic self-interests.
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Setting the Stage
Business and the National Recovery Administration
Farmers and the Agricultural Adjustment
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