In this reading, Luechtenburg discusses the affects the rural electrification had on American society. He claims that the REA was Roosevelts biggest contribution to the American society. Leuchtenburg writes, “Valley Authority was bringing electricity to a valley where, in 1932, only one Mississippi farm out of a hundred had power. “We are working toward no less a goal than the electrification of America,” Lilienthal declared.” The basic issue was that privately owned companies did not want to install power lines where they saw no money and growth. This meant the United States was quite divided in the way that the urban parts of the country like cities everything was electric but in rural parts like farms in the country very few people had power, as few as 1 out of every 100. According to Luechtenburg toward the end of the reading, Roosevelts REA plan was all in an effort to make ALL of America fin into a Keynesian system. John Maynard Keynes is from England and is considered the father of macroeconomics. He in the early 20th century helped globalize the economy. The United States could not be on the main stage of economics without the REA and electrifying the south. Under the REA Luectenburg says, “Many of them (farms) would be seeing electric light for the first time in their lives. By 1941, four out of ten American farms had electricity; by 1950, nine out of ten.” Luectenburg says this is important because, “Farmers, without the benefits of electrically powered machinery, toiled in a nineteenth-century world.”
Initially, I had a hard time sorting through the beginning of this article. As I continued to read I found this much more interesting. I never realized that so many farms were without power for so long. I also have heard alternatives in which Roosevelt overstepped his constitutional powers in creating a universal power system. However, Luectenburg makes it seem as though it would not be possible without him. I was really intrigued at the end of the article when Luectenburg brings up John Maynard Keynes, in a class last semester we read some of Keynes’ work on globalization. I never even considered the fact that Roosevelt was potentially influenced by Keynes and others to get the US front and center for the new globalized economic world which may contribute to his rush to get the south electrified.
Leuchtenburg. “FRANKUN D. ROOSEVELT AND THE NEW DEAL .” p. 154-58
Word Count: 400