Johnson's "Great" Society

H.W. 77: Read pages 871-876 (“Forgotten.

..”) + 888-890 (Wars to Crisis)] In what ways did the Great Society resemble the New Deal in its origins, goals, social, and political legacy Cite specific programs and policies in support of your arguments. In many ways Johnson’s Great Society of the 1960s resembled FDR’s New Deal of the 1930s, as both contained optimistic hopes for solving the economic deprivations of the lower classes and for regenerating the urban poor with social welfare programs at the time. “During the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement spurred a new awareness of and concern with poverty”- Out of Many, 3rd edition. The whole ordeal of programs had “mixed results” though, including ineffective programs like The Job Corps, in which teenagers were trained with factory skills that were obsolete, The Neighborhood Youth Corps which stipulated low-paying jobs to youth from 16-21.

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However, there were more successful agendas like VISTA, a domestic and optimistic Peace Corps bringing thousands of new teachers into poor schooling districts. Furthermore, there was the Community Action Program (CAP), determined to “empower the poor by giving them a direct say in the war on poverty.” The most successful of the CAP programs were called the National Emphasis Programs, which included Legal Services Program (which provided poor people with pro-bono legal representation), Upward Bound which helped adolescents gain necessary skills for college, and birth control programs which provided contraceptive information and supplies to women of urban poor communities. However, the problems of the poor could not be easily solved with established federal programs, as the root of poverty was found in the unequal distribution of wealth, another major problem of the 1930s as well. Much of the funding for the social welfare programs was only 16% in the gross national product, with the largest sums going to Medicare and Aid of Families with Dependent Children. Overall, President Johnson could not support the welfare supports efficiently to a variety of difficulties, such as the high dropout rates, those who looked at the programs as attempts to dispense services and patronage, and the economy funding and aiding to fight the war abroad.

Both the New Deal and the Great Society originated out of liberal concern for the underprivileged minorities of the urban poor and working class of America, and both concerned initiatives set up to ameliorate the lack of active government aid by providing services through welfare and employment programs, creating a legacy establishing today’s current liberal agenda issues. However, both programs fall threw from their major potential as presidential concerns were soon focused on re-establishing the economy as a whole (mainly 1930s) and aiding the war effort across seas (both 1930s and 1960s.) “The War on Poverty, like Great Society itself, became like a forgotten dream.”