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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] This is the third video in a series about tackling the Long Essay Question on the AP U.S. History exam. Now in the last video we were kind of weighing the evidence about the New Deal. Considering the ways in which the government, the economy and race, class and gender, may have been either conservative during the New Deal or radical. And we came up with some good evidence to support either side. And now it's up to me to choose which way I'm going to go. So I think I'm actually going to choose the conservative side here because I think it's just a tiny bit more convincing. And if you're wondering why I think it's a tiny bit more convincing, I think the part about Eleanor Roosevelt being an advocate for race and Frances Perkins being a visible woman in a government cabinet, they to me don't seem like maybe substantive changes. They seem maybe like they're a little bit more like figure heads like things went well for this one person or maybe just a tiny group of people, but in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that big of a change. Anyway, you may feel different from me. You may decide that you would have written an article about how radical the New Deal was, but I'm going to do an example of a conservative argument about the New Deal. Now our task here is take these themes that we've noticed and the evidence that we have assembled about these themes and turn it into a five paragraph essay. And that essay is going to include an introduction with a thesis statement and a paragraph that explores one of these themes, and I think I might start with the government theme. A paragraph that explores another one. I think I'll go with the economic theme. And because we're talking about economics here, I actually think we're going to roll class into that one because it's about people who are rich and people who are poor. And lastly I want to talk about the effect on woman and minorities. So that's our last theme. And then we'll finish it all up with a conclusion where we talk about how right we were. All right. Are you ready for this? So let's start with our thesis statement. So we've decided that we think that the New Deal was ultimately conservative. So we could start our introduction by saying, "Although the New Deal seems really radical "because it brought on a new relationship between "the federal government and the economy and "there were so many new programs. "In fact, it was actually essentially conservative. "And it was conservative because it did not really change "the essence of American government, "the America economy, "or the lives of ordinary Americans including "women and minorities." All right. I think that's pretty good. So let's move into our first paragraph about the government. Now with our thesis statement here we've kind of set up a pattern for ourselves to say the things that seem radical, but really are conservative. And we're going to do that in each of these paragraphs. So we can say what seems radical. Specific examples of things that might seem radical. And it's in giving these specific examples where you're going to really wow the reader by showing the breadth of your knowledge. So it might seem radical that there's a whole new government bureaucracy around the economy. It might even seem radical that there are women in cabinet positions. It might even seem radical that FDR had this kind of first 100 days thing where he said, "I'm going to achieve so much in my first 100 days. "I'm going to hit the ground running." So that seems like a very different form of government than what you might have had in the 1920s. In fact you can even say that FDR is such a active President, right? Mean he is bringing a force of personality and also governing ability to this role that really hadn't been established that much except for, you know, a few people say Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt. So it does seem like he's changing the office of President quite a bit, but in fact it's really conservative because they're not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, right. They're saying that essentially the democratic system works, and you can even compare the American government with governments in other parts of the world right now. I mean think about Germany where this economic depression leads to the rise of Hitler. So the United States could conceivably have become a fascist government in this time period, but they did not. All right. Let's talk about economics and the class system in the United States. So first let's think about things that might seem radical. Well it's radical that the government puts together all of these new economic initiatives like social security, or the federal deposit insurance corporation, the FDIC, which are new regulations about the banking and economic system that are kind of designed to make sure that ordinary people don't lose everything if the banking system crashes or maybe if they're in old age and lose their job. And there's also a new sense that being wealthy is not something that's necessarily deserved, right. That there's an element of chance that goes into your economic status. So I think it really tears down a long standing stereotype in the United States that the wealthy deserve to be wealthy and the poor deserve to be poor, this is a very popular notion in the gilded age. And instead says, "You know, sometimes bad things happen to good people." It's not everyone's fault if there's a depression because we couldn't have stopped it. Now we can to talk about how it was really conservative. And what we're saying here is that the capitalist system itself didn't fall apart. If you compare the New Deal to a true revolution, like for example the French Revolution, or the Russian Revolution, and these are examples where the poor rose up against the rich and were cutting people's heads off and taking their land. Then the New Deal seems very conservative. In fact, what most of these New Deal programs are trying to do is not to demolish capitalism, but to fix capitalism. So they accept the basic premise that capitalism is good. And that certainly wasn't the case in many other countries in the time period. Okay, last paragraph. So again we're looking at things that seem like they might be radical. And you could say, "It seems like Frances Perkins and Eleanor Roosevelt "are women that have established a real presence "in the government." And you could say that, "New Deal programs did employ many African Americans "and at the national level were not intended "to be discriminatory." But you could say, "At the local level administrators are often preventing "African Americans and other minorities from getting jobs." And you could also say that, "A lot of the New Deal programs "were really definitely intended for men." And you could, for example, say, "The Civilian Conservation Core was a program only "for young men." So women are often booted out of these jobs or they're not even actually eligible for them in the first place. So even though the New Deal is supposed to be this great economic turnaround in the United States, it really doesn't change the status of women and minorities much at all. Okay, time to conclude. So I think we can pretty much just sum up what we've said here. That there are a lot of things that look really radical about the New Deal, but in the end it doesn't actually change that much about the basic assumptions and basic structure of the American society and economy. And you might even mention that it's not going to be for another 20 or 30 years that things like this change for women and minorities. And even during the 1940s things, things kind off go back to the status quo before the great depression, right. It's this moment during the New Deal where there are a lot of government experiments about how to reorganize American society and reorganize the American economy, but by 1940 things kind of go back to the way that they had been. They're only a few things that still remain with us from the New Deal and I think those things are important like the FDIC, social security, and the idea of an interventionist government in the first place. But from the 1920s to the 1940s, there's not a gigantic revolution, an American Democracy, capitalism, or social structure. Things continue the way that they were and that's why the New Deal is essentially conservative. Okay, well I hope this example helped you with a Long Essay portion of the AP U.S. History exam and good luck.
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