The Success and Contradictions of New Deal Democratic Populism: The Case of the Civilian Conservation Corps

The Success and Contradictions of New Deal Democratic Populism: The Case of the Civilian... The Success and Contradictions of New Deal Democratic Populism: The Case of the Civilian Conservation Corps melissa b a ss Between 1933 and 1942, nearly three million unemployed young men worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to rehabilitate, pro- tect, and build America’s natural resources—planting trees, building dams, forging trails, fighting fires, preventing floods and more. Enrollees lived in forest camps, and in exchange for their labor received education and job training, room and board, and $30 per month—about $530 per month in today’s dollars—most of which was sent home to support their families. e C Th CC widely was considered an environmental and social success, in Roosevelt’s words, “conserving not only our natural resources, but our human resources” as wel B l. ut the question remains as to whether it was a democratic or populist success, as understood in this volume. In other words, in the process of providing and accomplishing useful work, did it engage its participants as citizens or build their capacity to act as citizens in our democracy? If a program must be democratic in itself to further democratic ends, then the answer is no. There was much in the CCC that was exclusionary http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

The Success and Contradictions of New Deal Democratic Populism: The Case of the Civilian Conservation Corps

The Good Society, Volume 21 (2) – Jan 3, 2012

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-9731

Abstract

The Success and Contradictions of New Deal Democratic Populism: The Case of the Civilian Conservation Corps melissa b a ss Between 1933 and 1942, nearly three million unemployed young men worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to rehabilitate, pro- tect, and build America’s natural resources—planting trees, building dams, forging trails, fighting fires, preventing floods and more. Enrollees lived in forest camps, and in exchange for their labor received education and job training, room and board, and $30 per month—about $530 per month in today’s dollars—most of which was sent home to support their families. e C Th CC widely was considered an environmental and social success, in Roosevelt’s words, “conserving not only our natural resources, but our human resources” as wel B l. ut the question remains as to whether it was a democratic or populist success, as understood in this volume. In other words, in the process of providing and accomplishing useful work, did it engage its participants as citizens or build their capacity to act as citizens in our democracy? If a program must be democratic in itself to further democratic ends, then the answer is no. There was much in the CCC that was exclusionary

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Jan 3, 2012

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