For my write-up today on Stephen Ambrose’s Nixon: The Education of a Politician, I’d like to highlight Ambrose’s quotation on page 120 of something that Richard Nixon said in a speech when Nixon was running for Congress in 1946:
“[Nixon] began by saying there were two conflicting views on the nature of the American system. ‘One advocated by the New Deal is government control in regulating our lives. The other calls for individual freedom and all that initiative can produce.’ Pausing, Nixon declared, ‘I hold with the latter viewpoint.’ He explained, ‘I believe the returning veterans, and I have talked to many of them in the foxholes, will not be satisfied with a dole or a government handout. They want a respectable job in private interest where they will be recognized for what they produce, or they want the opportunity to start their own business.”
According to Ambrose, Nixon got support from small businesspeople who felt strangled by New Deal regulations and did not care for the continual strikes that were occurring. I don’t know what exactly the New Deal was like in 1946. During the Depression, it put people to work. The value of hard work that Nixon highlights in his speech was a part of the New Deal, for people were paid by the government to plant trees and to do other tasks. But had the New Deal become more of a dole by 1946? I suppose that Social Security is a dole, but that’s largely for people when they are retired, not when they are returning veterans desiring a job (unless you count disability).