I'm having trouble identifying a singular, most important factor of the New Deal that changed American Society.

I'm leaning toward saying that the creation of the PWA was the most important factor because it basically pulled America out of the Depression. However, I'm having trouble identifying specifics that would support this argument. What am I not thinking of?

Also, if you do not think the PWA was the most important part, then please explain what you believe to be most important and why.

Thanks for the help! I really suck at specifics when it comes to history.

  • 4
    Start by reading en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal#Legacy, and then the rest of that article. Then you'll be able to ask more specific questions. Apr 4, 2017 at 10:42
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    Opinion question. The most important change was the new consensus that the US was a welfare state, and the corresponding explosion of government size and scope.
    – MCW
    Apr 4, 2017 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


The New Deal of the 1930s created a social safety net. This came in America several decades behind European countries, which had started in the late 19th century.

One feature of this was wealth protection measures such as Social Security, or old age pensions for people above the age of 65, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to protect small savers. Another was "Workman's" (unemployment) compensation for laid off workers. There were a number of "make work" programs, such as the Works Progress Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. These didn't last past World War II, but the idea that the government should manage the economy to fight unemployment lasts to this day.

Closely related to the fight against unemployment and poverty were the public works programs such as the Grand Coulee Dam and the Tennessee Valley Authority that lead to the interstate highway system after World War II.

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