The Incongruities of Reform

in Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780226500867
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226561127 | DOI:
The Incongruities of Reform

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This chapter focuses on the rights-advocacy groups that initially drove the movement to expand civil rights and liberties protection at the federal level. These groups included industrial labor unions, the NAACP, and legal reformers known as legal realists. Although each had reason to expect that their cause would garner more attention in the new administration, during Roosevelt's first two years social reform often took a back seat to the economic recovery of the nation. While both labor and legal realists enjoyed increased influence in New Deal Washington, their ideas for employing law to produce social change often found little consideration in the Roosevelt White House. A turning point came when the Supreme Court struck down the heart of Roosevelt's first New Deal. After this “Black Monday” in May 1935, the president was clearly more committed, in part through his support of the Wagner Act, to reconstituting the federal judiciary so that it would no longer be an overwhelming obstacle to progressive reform.

Keywords: rights-advocacy groups; civil rights; federal level; Black Monday; social reform

Chapter.  16317 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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