Lincoln understood that the dream of well-being, if not radically democratized, would for some people only be a nightmare.
The New Deal
Efforts to dismantle the U.S. welfare state rely on the myth of the redemptive Depression. It's an erasure and repackaging of a great crisis.
There are some advantages to teaching online. Often instructors complain that the online format robs them of give-and-take moments with students. But given the current size of many history survey sections—50, 90, 300, even 500 people—how realistic is it to expect those real-time opportunities for conversation? Online threaded discussions are often more substantive, inclusive, and productive than the traditional classroom format.
In March 1933, the United States stood on the brink of ruin. Twenty-five percent of the population was unemployed; many people had not worked for several years. The situation was even worse in cities with major industries, where unemployment surpassed the national average. Yet the real worry of the era cannot be captured by statistics alone.
It’s easy to imagine health-care reform that does more than the ACA. It's almost impossible to see it getting enacted, as Steven Brill's book reminds us.
In 2008, both enthusiasts and enemies of a new New Deal misjudged Obama. They also misjudged the circumstances he faced.