Date of Award

11-1996

Degree Type

Honors Paper

Department

History

First Advisor

Robert F. Pace, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David M. Carkenord, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

L. Marshall Hall, Jr., M.A.T.

Abstract

This thesis analyzes how conservative opposition grew and the effects of the Great Depression on Harry Byrd’s political views. The New Deal did not end the Great Depression, but it did usher in a new era in American governmental philosophy. Harry Byrd opposed the growing activism of the federal government and the New Deal’s approach to combating the depression. He maintained that government should be limited and economical. Although other modified their economic and political philosophies during the New Deal, Byrd never disowned the conservative principles that he formed early in life. Throughout the New Deal, Byrd remained committed to industry, economy, and self-reliance. He defended his fiscal conservatism from critics who argued that it was antiquated and ill-suited to the realities of modern America. Byrd placed his trust in the states’ rights, individualism, balanced budgets, low taxes, and economy. He wanted to rid the federal government o bureaucracy and concentrated power. If Byrd had his way, the nation would have the pay-as-you-go policy of Virginia.

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