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Cambridge Professor Will Discuss Obama’s “Lessons of the New Deal” Feb. 6

For release: January 27, 2014
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

Dr. Anthony Badger
Dr. Anthony Badger

The Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities at the University of Memphis will open its spring lecture series on Feb. 6 in the University Center Theatre with Dr. Anthony Badger of Cambridge University. Badger will present a review of President Barack Obama’s attempt, and ultimate failure, to turn the economic emergency of 2009 into a political success by refashioning Roosevelt’s “New Deal” policies.

The lecture, “The  Lessons of the New Deal: Has Obama Learned the Right Ones?,” will begin at 6 p.m. and will be preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Zach Curlin garage directly across from the University Center.

Badger contends that the economic crisis and the political environment Obama faced in 2009 mirrored those of Franklin Roosevelt’s first term. As in 1933, a charismatic president had succeeded a discredited president at a time of economic crisis with resounding majorities in Congress. According to Badger, Obama and his advisers explicitly looked to FDR’s New Deal for policy models but failed to achieve the same political success as FDR. While the Democrats gained seats in the mid-term elections of 1934 and FDR won a landslide re-election in 1936, Obama lost his commanding majority in the Senate and lost control of the House in the mid-term elections of 2010.

Like Roosevelt, Obama was reelected, but failed to regain control of the House, where the Republicans continue to stymie attempts to secure a bipartisan agreement on measures to tackle the budget deficit.

Badger is Paul Mellon Professor of American History at Cambridge University and Master of Clare College. His books on the New Deal include local case studies about North Carolina as well as a grand overview, The New Deal: The Depression Years 1933-1940. He returned to the subject of the New Deal in his 2008 book FDR: The First Hundred Days. 

Badger’s address is the annual Belle McWilliams Lecture in American History sponsored by the Department of History and University Public Service Funding. 

For more information on this event or the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities, visit


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