The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 433
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Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas westward to the Pacific Coast.
It is a vast area in which New Deal programs had a profound and
Lowitt begins by showing Franklin D. Roosevelt's interest in the
West in the campaign of 1932, and then describes the economic condi-
tion of the area during the drought and depression years of 1933-1934.
Chapters follow on such major topics as how New Deal policies helped
Great Plains farmers, how the Taylor Grazing Act protected federal
range land, and how Indian policy attempted to provide new oppor-
tunities for a people who had suffered from earlier federal policies.
Much of the study, however, deals with federal support for water de-
velopment. There is a chapter on the Columbia River Basin, and two
chapters on land and water developments in California.
Two federal departments-Interior and Agriculture-administered
most of the programs designed to revitalize the West's economy. Lowitt
explains that there was keen jurisdictional competition between Secre-
tary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes and Secretary of Agriculture
Henry A. Wallace. As it turned out, Ickes controlled most of the proj-
ects dealing with grazing and water west of the Rockies, while Wallace
had greater control over planning east of the Rockies. The author pro-
vides excellent insights into the administrative conflicts.
During the New Deal years the federal government poured hun-
dreds of millions of dollars into western power and irrigation projects,
contributing mightily to the region's economic development. Cheap
hydroelectric power was a major factor in the growing industrializa-
tion of the West. Moreover, price supports, especially for wheat, and
cost-sharing for conservation practices, greatly assisted Great Plains
farmers in riding out the depression.
There was a great deal of emphasis on planning for western land
and water use during the 1930s. While planning for water develop-
ment achieved considerable success, most of the land planning, other
than the Taylor Grazing Act, did not get much beyond studies and re-
ports. Nevertheless, Lowitt concludes that the New Deal planning ef-
forts had a major impact on the region. The huge multi-purpose dams,
which furnished cheap power for industry and water for irrigated
farming, provided the stimulus needed to modernize the West. This
book shows clearly how important government has been in the re-
gion's economic development.
Lowitt has done a prodigious amount of research in both archival
and secondary sources. His organization is clear and logical, and the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/m1/499/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.