Advertisement

The Second Time as Farce: Archaeological Reflections on the New New Deal

  • LouAnn WurstEmail author
  • Christine L. Ridarsky
Article

Abstract

Many connections have been made between the Great Depression and the current crisis in neoliberal capitalism, and many solutions proposed by the Left hearken to FDR’s New Deal programs. While New Deal policies had real benefits, assuming that they were uniformly beneficial to all lower class individuals is shortsighted. This is clear from the vantage point of our research in the Finger Lakes National Forest. The New Deal’s Resettlement Administration purchased these farms when implementing land-planning policies to move farmers off “sub-marginal” land to save families “stranded on sub-marginal farms.” Our research demonstrates that governmental land-use programs saved some farms by sacrificing others. This case makes it clear that solving current crises need more than nostalgic yearning for a mythic past. Solutions must come from a thorough examination of the “real concrete” past, not simply the past as imagined.

Keywords

New Deal Resettlement Administration Sub-marginal lands Farms 

References

  1. Allen, W. (1925). The Utilization of Marginal and Sub-Marginal Hill Farm Land. Doctoral dissertation. Cornell University, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  2. Babbitt, K. R. (1995). Producers and Consumers: Women of the Countryside and Cooperative Extension Service Home Economists, New York State, 1870–1935. Doctoral dissertation, State University of New York, Binghamton.Google Scholar
  3. Barbier, E. B. (2010). A Global Green New Deal, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beach, N. (1874). Atlas of Schuyler County, Pomeroy, Whitman, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  5. Bernstein, B. (1968). The New Deal: conservative achievements of liberal reform. In Bernstein, B. (ed.), Towards a New Past: Dissenting Essays in American History, Pantheon, New York, pp. 263–288.Google Scholar
  6. Bonstell, J. A., and Patton, B. J. (1943). Physical Land Conditions in Schuyler County, US Department of Agricultural Soil Conservation Service, Washington, DC, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Conklin, D. W. (2011). The Preconditions of Farm Abandonment: Agricultural and Domestic Labor. Master’s thesis, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.Google Scholar
  8. Darrah, L. B. (1942). An Economic Study of Land Utilization in Schuyler County, New York, Cornell University, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  9. Dean, A. B., and Reynolds, D. B. (2009). A New New Deal, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  10. Domhoff, G. W., and Webber, M. J. (2011). Class and Power in the New Deal, Stanford University Press, Stanford.Google Scholar
  11. Dunham, F. S. (n.d.). Growing Up in Western New York, 1881–1903. Unpublished manuscript on file with the Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector Ranger Station, Hector, New York.Google Scholar
  12. Dupuis, E. M. (1996). In the name of nature: ecology, marginality, and rural land use planning during the New Deal. In DuPuis, E. M., and Vandergeest, P. (eds.), Creating the Countryside, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, pp. 99–134.Google Scholar
  13. Felice, W. F. (2010). The Global New Deal: Economic and Social Human Rights in World Politics, Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham.Google Scholar
  14. Fitzgerald, D. (2003). Every Farm a Factory: The Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture, Yale University Press, New Haven.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Foote, N., Anderson, W. A., and McKain, W. (1944). Families Displaced in a Federal Sub-Marginal Land Purchase Program, Cornell University, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  16. Gilbert, J. (1996). Democratic planning in agricultural policy: the Federal-County Land-Use Planning Program, 1938–1942. Agricultural History 70: 233–250.Google Scholar
  17. Gilbert, J. (2000). Eastern urban liberals and Midwestern agrarian intellectuals: two group portraits of Progressives in the New Deal Department of Agriculture. Agricultural History 74: 162–180.Google Scholar
  18. Gilbert, J. (2001). Agrarian intellectuals in a modernizing state: a collective biography of USDA leaders in the intended New Deal. In Stock, C. M., and Johnston, R. D. (eds.), The Countryside in the Age of the Modern State: Political Histories of Rural America, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, pp. 213–239.Google Scholar
  19. Gilbert, J. (2003). Low modernism and the agrarian New Deal. In Adams, J. (ed.), Fighting for the Farm: Rural America Transformed, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, pp. 129–146.Google Scholar
  20. Gilbert, J. (2008). Rural sociology and democratic planning in the third New Deal. Agricultural History 95: 421–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gilbert, J. (2009). Democratizing states and the use of history. Rural Sociology 74: 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gilbert, J., and Howe, C. (1991). Beyond “state vs. society”: theories of the state and New Deal agricultural policies. American Sociological Review 56: 204–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grunwald, M. (2012). The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Hubbel, J. (1898–1923). Diaries. Copies on file, Department of Anthropology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.Google Scholar
  25. Jacobs, H. (1989). Debates in rural land planning policy: a twentieth century history from New York State. Journal of Rural Studies 5: 137–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. King, M. J. (1997). A Study of Schuyler County, the Town of Hector, and the Village of Reynoldsville: 1930–1940. State University of New York, College at Cortland.Google Scholar
  27. Kirkendall, R. S. (1966). Social Scientists and Farm Policies in the Age of Roosevelt, University of Missouri Press, Columbia.Google Scholar
  28. Lawson, A. (2006). A Commonwealth of Hope: The New Deal Response to Crisis, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  29. Marx, K. (1963). The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, International Publishers, New York.Google Scholar
  30. Novak, G. (1936). The function of the New Deal. New International 3(2): 44–47. George Novak Internet Archive. http://www.marxists.org/archive/novack/1936/04/soule.htm.Google Scholar
  31. Radosh, R. (1972). The myth of the New Deal. In Radosh, R., and Rothbard, M. N. (eds.), Leviathan: Essays on the Rise of the American Corporate State, E.P. Dutton Co., New York, pp. 146–187.Google Scholar
  32. Rasmussen, W. D. (1989). Taking the University to the People, Iowa State University Press, Ames.Google Scholar
  33. Rice, L. P. (1930). Land Utilization Studies. Unpublished manuscript. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Ridarsky, C. (2003). “Keep up Good Courage”: Submarginal Hill Farming in Upstate New York, 1850–1880. Master’s thesis, SUNY College at Brockport, Brockport, New York.Google Scholar
  35. Saloutos, T. (1982). The American Farmer and the New Deal, Iowa State University Press, Ames.Google Scholar
  36. Schuyler County Land Planning Committee (1941). Report. On file at the Hector Ranger Station, Hector, New York.Google Scholar
  37. Schwenninger, S. R. (2008). Democratizing capital. The Nation April 7.Google Scholar
  38. Senate Subcommittee on Economic Policy (2009). Lessons from the New Deal, Congressional Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Economic Policy. Senate Hearing 111–140. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  39. Smith, R. G. (1949). The People’s Colleges: A History of the New York State Extension Service in Cornell University and the State, 1876–1848, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  40. The Nation (2008). Toward a *New* New Deal. The Nation, April 7.Google Scholar
  41. Trotsky, L. (1939). Marxism in our rime. http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1939/04/marxism.htm.
  42. Tugwell, R. G. (1959). The resettlement idea. Agricultural History 33: 159–164.Google Scholar
  43. Vaughan, L. M. (1929). Abandoned Farm Areas in Southern New York. Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  44. Wickham, C. E. (1884–1910). Diaries. Copies on file, Department of Anthropology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.Google Scholar
  45. Wilson, E. B. (1936). A Preliminary Study of Land Utilization in Schuyler County, New York, 1934. Master’s thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  46. Wurst, L. (2007). Fixing farms: pondering farm scenes from the vanity press. Historical Archaeology 41(1): 69–80.Google Scholar
  47. Zinn, H. (1990). The Politics of History, 2nd ed, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA
  2. 2.University of RochesterRochesterUSA

Personalised recommendations