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Position paper

  1. 1. In a Time of Crisis<br />Hannah Moulds<br />Humanities 30-1<br />Mr Kabachia<br />May 28th 2010<br />There have been times in our history where a country has found itself in great turmoil and distress; this is often due to an economic crisis. In these times, people are desperate for someone to help them regain strength and power as a nation. The Great Depression was a time where people were starving, unemployed and had almost lost all hope. There was one man who offered help to America to get them out of the depression; this man was Franklin Roosevelt. In his first inaugural address in 1933 he stated, “I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis- broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” The emergency stated is the Great Depression, and Roosevelt wanted to wage a war against this crisis. Roosevelt began to enforce his idea of the New Deal. This was when modern liberalism came into action; labour standards started to take place as well as regulations on the economy, such as on the stock market. With these new rules and regulations, Roosevelt felt he could decrease the unemployment rates and increase the living standards of the nation. In order to fix the economy, Roosevelt’s supported the idea of Keynesian Economics; this was an idea that John M. Keynes came up with in order to soften the effect of the market cycle. Some countries have not used modern liberalism ideologies or Keynesian Economics in order to improve the nation after a crisis, they used the opposite; the rejection of liberalism. Rejecting liberalism should never be a permanent solution to the countries problems; it could work as long as it is only temporary. There have been times in our history where countries have rejected liberalism in order to regain power and stability, but have failed to regain liberal ideologies. The extent in which we should embrace modern liberalism is when trying to maintain stability and growth within a nation; but if there is a time where the country is in crisis and liberalism must be temporarily rejected, it should be done according to the severity of the situation.<br />Some people may feel that rejecting any aspect of liberalism goes against what being a liberal country is; a country with freedom and rights. They will say that it is our right to choose whether or not we want to give up these liberal principles. But sometimes people must consider liberalism with a collective ideology instead of an individualist ideology. Modern liberalism is modifying classical liberalism, and it focuses more on the collective. Welfare state is a principle of liberalism that allows for the government to ensure people are being cared for, as well as making sure that the society is being maintained. There are times where our freedoms aren’t worth protecting if the collective will suffer from us doing so. In 1914, Canada introduced the War Measures Act, this act allowed the government to limit the freedom of Canada if there a threat of war or invasion. CITATION Den10 l 4105 (Smith, 2010) Even though modern liberalism was not recognized at this time, it still shows that even a liberal country feels the need to temporarily reject liberalism in a time of crisis. Modern liberalism can be treated the same, since it is just a modified version of classical liberal ideologies. There will be times where a crisis has become so bad that no matter what modern liberalism principles are put in place, rejecting them is the only way out. People must understand that we have to do whatever it takes to ensure our nation is protected and thriving.<br />After World War One, Germany was forced to accept responsibility for the conflict and was liable for all material damages and had large reparation payments. CITATION Uni10 l 4105 (Museum, 2010) The country was left with a large amount of debt as well as the living conditions had dropped dramatically. The German people were desperate for a strong government leader who could rebuild their country to the power it once was. Hitler was this revolutionary man; he gained many people’s trust by using propaganda. He promised to transform their country to the strong and powerful nation it should be. The citizens of Germany gave up the rights and freedoms in order for these changes to occur. But giving up their rights left them in a position so that they could no longer oppose Hitler and the Nazi’s. The major rejections of liberalism in fascist Germany were individual rights and freedoms, rule of law, and even the modern liberal principle, human rights. Human rights were introduced to society to allow for people to have life and liberty and equality before the law, but in Germany during WWII many aspects of these rights no longer applied, especially during the Holocaust. This was a time where rejecting aspects of liberalism in order to recover from a crisis, failed. The people did not understand the severity of giving up their most vital principle of liberalism, their rights, to a man whose plans to save Germany were going too far. Even though Germany was in such a crisis after WWI and they were desperate to recover, rejecting liberalism was not the solution many people were looking for. This should have been a time, like when the Great Depression hit, where modern liberalism should pursued. Acts and laws should have been put into place so that people could be employed and living conditions could improve, rather than blaming problems on certain group and taking away the rights of its citizens.<br />The Great Depression was the starting point of modern liberalism in many societies. After WWI, many countries struggled to regain their wealth and stability, and many of their economies crashed. On what is known as Black Tuesday (October 29th, 1929), the stock market crashed in the United States of America. This crash of the economy left people unemployed and starving. This was when the government became more involved in the economy as well as in society as a whole. CITATION Jen10 l 4105 (Rosenburg, 2010) Franklin D. Roosevelt was the man that the American citizens felt would solve their anguish. His first act as President was to close down all of the banks, and did not allow for them to reopen until they were stabilized. CITATION Jen10 l 4105 (Rosenburg, 2010) Roosevelt then started his New Deal action plan. These plans were set in place to help farmers, as well as solve the unemployment by hiring people for different projects. CITATION Jen10 l 4105 (Rosenburg, 2010) In order to help the economy, Roosevelt turned to the idea of Keynesian Economics, this was a plan that is meant to soften the effect of market cycles but also preserve the essential freedoms of the free market. This idea encourages more spending when a recession hits, and when the economy is booming, the government should higher taxes and save money for when an economic crisis occurs again. Roosevelt was known to the people for his care for the common man, and people truly felt that he was easing the pain of the depression. CITATION Jen10 l 4105 (Rosenburg, 2010) Embracing modern liberalism in a time like the Great Depression was essential in order for the society and economy to become more stable. Even though Roosevelt’s New Deal did not fix the economy, it was good start towards further progress for the people in the United States of America. <br />Introducing modern liberalism into a nation that is in a crisis can help stabilize the country as well as encourage economic growth. If there are times where some aspects of liberalism must be rejected in order for the nation to be protected, as well as its people, then it should be done with the greatest thought and care. Rejecting the rights of the people can turn into a catastrophe as we have seen in fascist Germany in WWI. The people were so desperate for change that they went along with a radical idea that turned into one of the most catastrophic events in our history. When Canada issued the War Measures Act, they were trying to protect the people from war and terrorism. It was only set into action when there was a threat to our citizens and it was essential for their protection. This act did not permanently remove the rights of the people, and this is the key to success of rejecting liberalism. The Great depression is an example where embracing modern liberalism works at its peak. There was desperation in America, but Franklin Roosevelt knew that if he pursued modern liberal ideologies, than he could greatly improve the conditions of the American people. In his quote from his inaugural address in 1933, he stated he wanted to wage a war on this emergency, and he did exactly this. He used modern liberalism to his advantage and won over the American people with his collective ideologies. He fought for his people in a time when it was needed the most. Even though the American economy was still in crisis after the New Deal, Roosevelt’s did attempt to soften the impact on the economy by using Keynesian Economics. This is the extent in which modern liberalism should be pursued, in a time when rejecting liberalism is not an option and the collective of the nation needs help. <br />Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY Museum, U. S. (2010, April 1). The Treaty of Versailles. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from Holocaust Encyclopedia: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005425Rosenburg, J. (2010). The Great Depresison. Retrieved May 28, 2010, from 20th Century History: http://history1900s.about.com/od/1930s/p/greatdepression.htmSmith, D. (2010). War Measures Act. Retrieved May 28, 2010, from The Canadian Encyclopedia: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0008439<br />