My Open Letter to Daniel Gross at Newsweek (Historians and the Great Depression)

This is an email than I just sent to Daniel Gross a reporter at Newsweek:

Dear Mr. Gross:

I am a professor of history at the University of Alabama. Much of my research and teaching focuses on the Great Depression era in American history.

In an article in Salon on January 2, 2009, David Sirota quoted you as stating, “One would be very hard-pressed to find a serious professional historian who believes that the New Deal prolonged the Depression” (See here).

If the quotation accurately represents your views, it is very mistaken.

Off the top of my head, I can name “several serious professional historians” who would probably argue (and argue strongly) “that the New Deal prolonged the Depression.” In addition to myself, they include Jonathan Bean of Southern Illinois University, Brad Birzer of Hillsdale College, Brad Thompson of Clemson University, Jeffrey Hummel at San Jose State University, Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton, Michael Allen of the University of Washington at Tacoma, Ralph Raico of Buffalo State College, Burton Folsom of Hillsdale College, David Mayer of Capital University in Columbus, John Moser of Ashland University in Ohio, and Paul Moreno of Hillsdale. All have doctorates in history from top-ranked universities.

This is just off the top of my head. If you want additional names, please feel free to call me at 205-348-1870.

Of course, I would happy to discuss my own views on this topic.


David T. Beito
Department of History
University of Alabama

David Beito is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute and editor of the Independent book, The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society (with Peter Gordon and Alexander Tabarrok).
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