Fair Deal

The Fair Deal was an ambitious set of proposals put forward by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to Congress in his January 1949 State of the Union address. More generally the term characterizes the entire domestic agenda of the Truman administration, from 1945 to 1953. It offered new proposals to continue New Deal liberalism, but with the Conservative Coalition controlling Congress, only a few of its major initiatives became law and then only if they had considerable GOP support. As Richard Neustadt concludes, the most important proposals were aid to education, universal health insurance, the Fair Employment Practices Commission, and repeal of the Taft–Hartley Act. They were all debated at length, then voted down. Nevertheless, enough smaller and less controversial items passed that liberals could claim some success.[1]


A liberal Democrat of the Midwestern populist tradition, Truman was determined to both continue the legacy of the New Deal and to make Franklin Roosevelt's proposed Economic Bill of Rights a reality, while making his own mark in social policy.[2]

In a scholarly article published in 1972, historian Alonzo Hamby argued that the Fair Deal reflected the "vital center" approach to liberalism which rejected totalitarianism, was suspicious of excessive concentrations of government power, and honored the New Deal as an effort to achieve a "democratic socialist society." Solidly based upon the New Deal tradition in its advocacy of wide-ranging social legislation, the Fair Deal differed enough to claim a separate identity. The Depression did not return after the war and the Fair Deal had to contend with prosperity and an optimistic future. The Fair Dealers thought in terms of abundance rather than depression scarcity. Economist Leon Keyserling argued that the liberal task was to spread the benefits of abundance throughout society by stimulating economic growth. Agriculture Secretary Charles F. Brannan wanted to unleash the benefits of agricultural abundance and to encourage the development of an urban-rural Democratic coalition. However the Brannan Plan was defeated by strong conservative opposition in Congress and by his unrealistic confidence in the possibility uniting urban labor and farm owners who distrusted rural insurgency. The Korean War made military spending the nation's priority and killed almost the whole Fair Deal but did encourage the pursuit of economic growth.[3]

21 Point Program

In September 1945, Truman addressed Congress and presented a 21-point program of domestic legislation outlining a series of proposed actions in the fields of economic development and social welfare.[4] The measures that Truman proposed to Congress included:[5]

  1. Major improvements in the coverage and adequacy of the unemployment compensation system.
  2. Substantial increases in the minimum wage, together with broader coverage.
  3. The maintenance and extension of price controls to keep down the cost of living in the transition to a peacetime economy.
  4. A pragmatic approach towards drafting legislation eliminating wartime agencies and wartime controls, taking legal difficulties into account.
  5. Legislation to ensure full employment.
  6. Legislation to make the Fair Employment Practice Committee permanent.
  7. The maintenance of sound industrial relations.
  8. The extension of the United States Employment Service to provide jobs for demobilized military personnel.
  9. Increased aid to farmers.
  10. The removal of the restrictions on eligibility for voluntary enlistment and allowing the armed forces to enlist a greater number of volunteers.
  11. The enactment of broad and comprehensive housing legislation.
  12. The establishment of a single Federal research agency.
  13. A major revision of the taxation system.
  14. The encouragement of surplus-property disposal.
  15. Greater levels of assistance to small businesses.
  16. Improvements in federal aid to war veterans.
  17. A major expansion of public works, conserving and building up natural resources.
  18. The encouragement of post-war reconstruction and settling the obligations of the Lend-Lease Act.
  19. The introduction of a decent pay scale for all Federal Government employees—executive, legislative, and judicial.
  20. The promotion of the sale of ships to remove the uncertainty regarding the disposal of America’s large surplus tonnage following the end of hostilities.
  21. Legislation to bring about the acquisition and retention of stockpiles of materials necessary for meeting the defense needs of the nation.

Truman did not send proposed legislation to Congress; he expected Congress to draft the bills. Many of these proposed reforms, however, were never realized due the opposition of the conservative majority in Congress. Despite these setbacks, Truman's proposals to Congress became more and more abundant over the course of his presidency, and by 1948 a legislative program that was more comprehensive came to be known as the "Fair Deal".[6] In his 1949 State of the Union address to Congress on January 5, 1949, Truman stated that "Every segment of our population, and every individual, has a right to expect from his government a fair deal." Amongst the proposed measures included federal aid to education,[7] a large tax cut for low-income earners,[8] the abolition of poll taxes, an anti-lynching law, a permanent FEPC, a farm aid program, increased public housing, an immigration bill, new TVA-style public works projects, the establishment of a new Department of Welfare, the repeal of the Taft–Hartley Act, an increase in the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents an hour, national health insurance, expanded Social Security coverage, and a $4 billion tax increase to reduce the national debt and finance these programs.[9]

Despite a mixed record of legislative success, the Fair Deal remains significant in establishing the call for universal health care as a rallying cry for the Democratic Party. Lyndon B. Johnson credited Truman's unfulfilled program as influencing Great Society measures such as Medicare that Johnson successfully enacted during the 1960s.[10] The Fair Deal faced much opposition from the many conservative politicians who wanted a reduced role of the federal government. The series of domestic reforms was a major push to transform the United States from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy.[11] In a context of postwar reconstruction and entering the era of the Cold war, the Fair Deal sought to preserve and extend the liberal tradition of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.[4] During this post-WWII time, people were growing more conservative as they were ready to enjoy the prosperity not seen since before The Great Depression.[12] The Fair Deal faced opposition by a coalition of conservative Republicans and predominantly southern conservative Democrats. However, despite strong opposition, there were elements of Truman’s agenda that did win congressional approval, such as the public housing subsidies cosponsored by Republican Robert A. Taft under the 1949 National Housing Act, which funded slum clearance and the construction of 810,000 units of low-income housing over a period of six years.[13]

Truman was also helped by the election of a Democratic Congress later in his term. According to Eric Leif Davin, the 1949–50 Congress ‘was the most liberal Congress since 1938 and produced more “New-Deal-Fair Deal” legislation than any Congress between 1938 and Johnson’s Great Society of the mid-1960s.” As noted by one study

“This was the Congress that reformed the Displaced Persons Act, increased the minimum wage, doubled the hospital construction program, authorized the National Science Foundation and the rural telephone program, suspended the ‘sliding scale’ on price supports, extended the soil conservation program, provided new grants for planning state and local public works and plugged the long-standing merger loophole in the Clayton Act…Moreover, as protector, as defender, wielder of the veto against encroachments on the liberal preserve, Truman left a record of considerable success – an aspect of the Fair Deal not to be discounted.”[14]

Although Truman was unable to implement his Fair Deal program in its entirety, a great deal of social and economic progress took place in the late Forties and early Fifties. A Census report confirmed that gains in housing, education, living standards, and income under the Truman administration were unparalleled in American history. By 1953, 62 million Americans had jobs, a gain of 11 million in seven years, while unemployment had all but vanished. Farm income, dividends, and corporate income were at all-time highs, and there had not been a failure of an insured bank in nearly nine years. The minimum wage had also been increased while Social Security benefits had been doubled, and 8 million veterans had attended college by the end of the Truman administration as a result of the G.I. Bill,[15] which subsidized the businesses, training, education, and housing of millions of returning veterans.[9]

Millions of homes had been financed through previous government programs, and a start was made in slum clearance. Poverty was also significantly reduced, with one estimate suggesting that the percentage of Americans living in poverty had fallen from 33% of the population in 1949 to 28% by 1952.[16] Incomes had risen faster than prices, which meant that real living standards were considerably higher than seven years earlier. Progress had also been made in civil rights, with the desegregation of both the federal civil Service and the armed forces and the creation of the Commission on Civil Rights. In fact, according to one historian, Truman had “done more than any President since Lincoln to awaken American conscience to the issues of civil rights".[15]

Legislation and programs

Note: This listing contains reforms drawn up by the Truman Administration together with reforms drawn up by individual Congressmen. The latter have been included because it is arguable that the progressive nature of these reforms (such as the Water Pollution Law, which was partly a Republican initiative) was compatible with the liberalism of the Fair Deal.

Civil Rights Movement

As Senator, Truman had not supported the nascent Civil Rights Movement. In a 1947 speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which marked the first time a sitting President had ever addressed the group, Truman said "Every man should have the right to a decent home, the right to an education, the right to adequate medical care, the right to a worthwhile job, the right to an equal share in the making of public decisions through the ballot, and the right to a fair trial in a fair court."[17]

As President, he put forward many civil rights programs but they were met with a lot of resistance by southern Democrats. All his legislative proposals were blocked. However, he used presidential executive orders to end discrimination in the armed forces and denied government contracts to firms with racially discriminatory practices. He also named African Americans to federal posts. Except for nondiscrimination provisions of the Housing Act of 1949, Truman had to be content with civil rights' gains achieved by executive order or through the federal courts. Vaughan argues that by continuing appeals to Congress for civil rights legislation, Truman helped reverse the long acceptance of segregation and discrimination by establishing integration as a moral principle.[18]


The main program of universal health care failed to pass after intense debates.[19]

  • A bill was signed which authorized Federal agencies to provide minor medical and dental services to employees (1945).[20]
  • The National Mental Health Act (1946) authorized federal support for mental health research and treatment programs.[21]
  • The Water Pollution Law (1948) provided funds for sewage treatment system and pollution research while empowering the Justice Department to file suit against polluters.[22]
  • The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (1947) introduced regulations on the use of pesticide in food production.[23]
  • The Hill-Burton Act (Hospital Survey and Construction Act) (1946) established a federal program of financial assistance for the modernization and construction of hospital facilities.[24] The program brought national standards and financing to local hospitals, and raised standards of medical care throughout the United States during the course of the Fifties and sixties. While the legislation favored middle-class communities because it required local financial contributions, it channeled federal funds to poor communities, thus raising hospital standards and equity in access to quality care. The program required hospitals assisted by federal funding to provide emergency treatment to the uninsured and a reasonable volume of free or reduced cost care to poor Americans.[25]
  • The Hospital Survey and Construction Amendments of 1949 raised the amount of federal funding available and raised the federal share of hospital construction to two-thirds. These amendments made it possible for less-wealthy communities to benefit from the Hill-Burton Act of 1946.[26]
  • A program was established to fund payments to medical vendors for care of aged persons on low incomes (1950).[27]
  • Funding was authorized for research and demonstration relating to the coordination, utilization, and development of hospital services.[26]
  • Grants to states for cancer control were introduced (1947).[28]
  • The Omnibus Medical Research Act (1950) authorized the establishment of the Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness and the transmutation of the Experimental Biology and medical Institute into the much larger Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases. The legislation also empowered the Surgeon General to establish additional institutes when he felt that they were necessary, and also to ‘conduct and support research and research training relating to other diseases and groups of diseases.’[29]
  • The Atomic Energy Commission was directed by Congress to investigate the linkage between atomic research and cancer therapies, providing some $5 million for this purpose (1950).[29]
  • A Clinical and Laboratory Research Center was established (1947).[28]
  • The research construction provisions of the Appropriations Act for FY 1948 provided funds "for the acquisition of a site, and the preparation of plans, specifications, and drawings, for additional research buildings and a 600-bed clinical research hospital and necessary accessory buildings related thereto to be used in general medical research ...."[30]
  • The National Heart Act (1948) authorized the National Heart Institute to assist, conduct, and foster research, provide training, and to provide help to the states in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of heart diseases.[30]
  • The National Institute of Dental Research was authorized by the National Dental Research Act (1948) to “conduct, assist, and foster dental research; provide training; and cooperate with the states in the prevention and control of dental diseases.”[30]
  • A National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases was established (1950).[30]
  • A National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness was established (1950).[30]
  • The Durham-Humphrey Amendment (1951) defined “the kinds of drugs that cannot be safely used without medical supervision and restricts their sale to prescription by a licensed practitioner.”[31]


Under Truman, many adjustments were made to the social welfare system, although one of his key aims, to extend Social Security coverage to 25 million Americans, was never accomplished. Despite this, 10 million received Social Security coverage.[32]

  • The Federal Railroad Disability Insurance program was enacted (1946).
  • The Social Security Act was amended (1950) to provide a new category of state aid to the totally and permanently disabled.[33]
  • Throughout 1950, more than thirty major changes were made to Social Security. Compulsory coverage was extended to residents of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, federal employees not covered by federal pensions, domestic servants, most self-employed workers, and agricultural workers. State and local government workers were provided with the option of joining the system. Survivor’s benefits were increased and expanded, and Social Security benefits were increased significantly for current beneficiaries by 77.5%. Changes were also made to increase the progressivity of benefits.[34] Another amendment granted wage credits toward all Social Security benefits for military service performed between September 1940 and July 1947.[35]
  • The Aid to Families with Dependent Children program was expanded to include support for caregivers (1950).[36]
  • Grants to states for public assistance to needy individuals, those who were totally and permanently disabled, and also to maternal and child welfare services, were broadened and increased.[37]
  • The Displaced Persons Act admitted individuals who were victims of persecution by the Nazi government.[38]
  • The admissions numbers for displaced persons were doubled to 400,000 (1950).[38]
  • Federal financial participation of public assistance payments was increased (1946).[20]
  • Compulsory contribution to Social Security was expanded (in principle) to all dependent employees and workers (1946).[39]
  • The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) was amended in 1946 to permit states where employees made contributions under the unemployment insurance program to use some or all of these contributions for the payment of disability benefits.[35][40]
  • The Social Security Act was amended in 1946 to provide survivor benefits to the dependents of World War II veterans who died within three years of having been discharged from the military. The amendments considered veterans of the Second World War to be fully insured under Social Security for purposes of survivor benefits, even if they had not completed the required number of quarters of covered employment under Social Security.[35]
  • The Civil Service Retirement Act was amended (1948) to provide protection for the survivors of Federal employees.[20]
  • The Civil Service Retirement Act of 1930 was amended (1945) to provide retirement credit, in computing length of service, to persons who left Government service to enter the armed forces.[20]
  • The Internal Revenue Code and the Social Security Act were amended (1945) in order to extend coverage to all employees of the Bonneville Power Administration who were not covered under the Federal Civil Service Retirement Act and therefore had no retirement protection.[20]
  • The Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act and Railroad Retirement Act amendments (1946) established monthly survivor benefits and sickness and maternity benefits for railroad employees. The Social Security Act was also amended by the provision making wages in railroad employment applicable for survivor benefits under the old-age and survivors insurance program.[20]
  • The Social Security Act was amended (1946) to provide coverage to private maritime employees under State unemployment insurance, monthly benefits under old age and survivors insurance for survivors of certain World War II veterans, and temporary unemployment benefits to seamen with wartime Federal employment. Permission was given to States, with employee contributions under their unemployment insurance laws, to use such funds for temporary disability insurance benefits. There would also be greater Federal sharing in public assistance payments for a specified period, and larger grants were to be provided for maternal and child health and child welfare, as well as the extension of these programs to the Virgin Islands.[20]
  • A bill was approved (1947) which extended to July 1949 the time in which income from nursing service and agricultural labor could be disregarded in making old age assistance payments.[20]
  • A law as passed (1947) under which certain aged recipients of assistance could continue, until July 1949, to care for the sick or work for wages on a farm without having such wages jeopardize their assistance payment.[20]
  • The Railroad Retirement Act was amended (1948) to increase certain survivor and retirement benefits.[20]
  • A law was passed (1948) which raised railroad pensions by 20%, yet reduced taxes on payrolls.[20]
  • A law was passed (1948) which increased certain benefits payable under the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.[20]
  • A law was approved (1949) which authorized appropriations for the Federal Security Administrator to meet the emergency needs of crippled children for fiscal year 1949, in addition to funds authorized under the Social Security Act.[20]
  • Increases in Social Security benefits were authorized (1948).[41]
  • An act for the rehabilitation of the Navajo and Hopi tribes of Indians was approved (1950), which included a provision to increase the Federal participation in public assistance payments.[33]
  • The Social Security Act of 1950 increased welfare benefits,[42] extended the coverage of Social Security to elderly Americans, and raised the minimum wage. These benefits appealed to both middle-class and working-class Americans.[43] Farm and domestic employees and nonfarm self-employed persons came to be covered for first time under the Social Security Old-Age Insurance pension program.[44] As a result of these changes, an additional 10.5 million Americans were covered by Social Security.[45] According to one historian the 1950 act “was almost as significant as the original 1935 legislation.”[9]
  • In September 1950, benefits began to be paid to dependent husbands, dependent widowers, wives under the age of sixty-five with children in their care, and divorced wives.[33]
  • A law was signed (1952) which increased sickness and unemployment benefits for railroad workers by 30% to 60%, and was financed by a payroll levy on the railroads.[33]
  • The Social Security Act was amended (1952) to extend for another year “the time within which State Governments could make agreements that were retroactive to January 1, 1951, for old-age and survivors insurance coverage of State and local Government employees”.[33]
  • The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (1949) provided the Federal Security Administrator with the authority to dispose of surplus Federal property to nonprofit or tax-supported educational institutions for health or educational purposes.[41]
  • The Social Security Act of 1952 increased benefits under the old-age and survivors insurance program, extended the period of wage credits for military service through December 31, 1953, liberalized the retirement test and raised the retirement test from $50 to $75 a month. The legislation also changed, for a two-year period, the grant formula for public assistance payments in order to make additional funds available to the States.[33]
  • Social Security coverage was extended to farm workers (1951).[46]
  • Unemployment coverage was extended.[47]
  • Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled, a welfare program to provide help to people with disabilities, was introduced (1950).[48]
  • A bill was passed (1952) which raised Social Security benefits[49] by 12.5%.[50]


A centerpiece of the Fair Deal—the repeal of Taft–Hartley—failed to pass. As Plotke notes, "By the early 1950s repeal of Taft–Hartley was only a symbolic Democratic platform statement."[51]

  • A new Fair Labor Standards Act established a 75-cent-an-hour minimum wage.
  • The Employment Act of 1946 created a clear legal obligation on the part of the federal government to use all practical means ‘to promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power.’ The Act also established “the basic core of machinery for such economic planning – the Council of Economic Advisers working directly for the President, and the joint Committee on the Economic report in Congress.” Under the Employment Act, within two decades following its passage, swift measures taken by the Federal Reserve authorities and by the administration in charge held in check four recessions, those of 1948–49, 1953–54, 1957–58, and 1960–61.
  • The Office of Economic Stabilization was re-established (1946) in an effort to control rising prices.[52]
  • The Federal Employees Pay Act (1946) brought about a 14% increase in the base pay of most Government workers whose positions were subjected to the Classification Act of 1923.[53]
  • The Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1949 introduced various provisions designed to “assure the health, efficiency and general well-being of workers.”[54]
  • Moderate tax relief for low-income earners was passed by Congress.[55]
  • The first code of federal regulations for mine safety was authorized by Congress (1947).[56]
  • The Federal Coal Mine Safety Act of 1952 provided for annual inspections in certain underground coal mines, and provided the Bureau with limited enforcement authority, including the power to issue violation notices and imminent danger withdrawal orders. The Act also authorized the assessment of civil penalties against mine operators for refusing to give inspectors access to mine property or for noncompliance with withdrawal orders, although no provision was made for monetary penalties for noncompliance with the safety provisions.[56]
  • Child labor was finally prohibited through an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act(1949).[57]
  • The number of employees covered by the federal minimum wage was increased.[58]
  • The Judiciary and Judicial Procedure Act of 1948 prohibited employers from intimidating, discharging, threatening to discharge, or coercing permanent employees for serving jury duty.[59]
  • The McGuire Act (1952) strengthened fair trade laws by enabling manufacturers to extend price maintenance even to retailers “who refused to sign contracts.”[60]


As Donaldson notes, the major proposal for large-scale federal aid to education "died quickly, mostly over whether aid should be given to private schools."[61]

  • The National School Lunch and Milk Act (1946) established school lunch programs across the United States, with the purpose of safeguarding "the health and well-being of the nation's children and to encourage the consumption of agricultural abundance".[62] This legislation introduced the provision of commodity donations and federal grants for non-profit milk and lunches in private and public schools. The program had the strong support of conservative Congressmen from rural districts.[63]
  • The George-Barden Act (1946) expanded federal support for vocational education.[64]
  • The Fulbright Program was established (1946), becoming one of the “world’s largest and most respected cooperative educational programs for the interchange of graduate students, teachers, and scholars.”[65]
  • The National Science Foundation was established to support education and research in science.[66]
  • The Federal Impacted Areas Aid Program (1950) authorized federal aid to school districts in which “large numbers of federal employees and tax-exempt federal property create either a substantial increase in public school enrollments or a significant reduction in local property tax revenues.”[63]
  • Long-term low-interest loans to colleges for dormitory construction were authorized (1950).[67]
  • Following the outbreak of the Korean War aid was provided for current expenses and for the construction of additional school facilities in districts which had become centers of wartime activity and were overwhelmed by the arrival of military personnel and their families.[68]
  • $96.5 million was appropriated for school construction under P.L. 81-815 (1950).[41]
  • The federal government funded scholarships and loans for nursing students and provided aid to medical schools in order to meet the growing need for caregivers.[69]
  • $23 million was appropriated for school operating expenses under P.L. 81-874 (1950).[41]


During the Truman years, the role of the federal government in the field of housing provision was extended, with one major reform in particular (the Housing Act of 1949) passed with the support of the conservative senator Robert A. Taft.

  • The Housing Act of 1949 was a major legislative accomplishment stemming from the collaboration of the Fair Deal and conservative leader Senator Taft.[70] This led to the allocation of federal funds to go towards 800,000 units of public housing.
  • The Federal Housing and Rent Act (1947) was passed to encourage the construction of new rental housing in cities.[71]
  • The Housing and Rent Act (1949) extended federal rent control authority.[72]
  • The Farmers Home Administration was established (1946) to assist self-help rural housing groups as well as to make grants and loans for the repair and construction of rural homes.[73]
  • More money was provided for farm housing.[74]
  • The Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance programs were liberalized, authorizing a program of limited technical research and setting up a new program for guaranteeing a minimum yield on direct investments in housing.[75]
  • The Housing Act of 1950 enlarged and liberalized the loan guarantee privileges of Second World War veterans by administering a direct loan program for those veterans who were unable to acquire private home financing. The legislation also authorized a program of mortgage insurance for co-operative housing projects, a program of technical aid, and a new program of mortgage insurance for low-priced new rural housing.[76]
  • A permanent national housing agency was established (1947), promising co-ordination of the principal nonfarm housing functions of the federal government.[75]
  • Rent controls were extended (1951) to cover previously exempted categories.[77]
  • Funds were provided for slum clearance and urban renewal.[9]
  • Appropriations for the Farmer’s Home Administration were increased (1950).[78]


Veterans benefits were non-controversial, and won support from left and right.

  • The Veterans' Emergency Housing Act (1946) encouraged the construction of housing for returning soldiers.[79]
  • The Veterans' regulations were amended (1945) to provide increased rates of pension for certain service-incurred disabilities, generally on a parity with rates payable for similar disabilities under the World War I Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended.[33]
  • The Veteran's Readjustment Assistance Act (1952) included provisions for unemployment compensation for veterans under a uniform Federal formula.[33]
  • Legislation was approved (1952) which increased veteran's compensation and pension rates.[33]
  • A law was signed (1949), which extended for one year to June 1950 reconversion and unemployment benefits for seamen provided by Title XIII of the Social Security Act.[20]
  • $3.7 billion was spent of GI benefits from 1945 to 1949.[9]
  • The Social Security Act was amended (1952) to grant wage credits toward Social Security benefits for each month of military service after July 1947 and before January 1954.[35]


Dean shows that the major Fair Deal initiative, the "Brannan Plan" proposed by Secretary of Agriculture Brannan, failed in Congress because Truman delayed too long in presenting it before Congress and it lost initiative and because he never consulted with top leaders in farm legislation. A separate Anderson Act was signed in 1949 that had more in common with the Republican-sponsored Agricultural Act of 1948 than Secretary Brannan's plan did.[80]

  • A Conservation of Wildlife Act was passed (1946) to protect wildlife resources.[81]
  • The Farmers Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act (1948) stabilized, supported and protected farm incomes and prices, assisted in maintaining adequate supplies, and facilitated an orderly distribution of commodities.[46]
  • The Agricultural Act (1948) introduced a more flexible system of price supports.[77]
  • The Agricultural Act (1949) maintained price supports at 90% of parity.[38] The Act also made certain donated commodities acquired through price-support operations by the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) available for distribution to local public welfare organizations serving poor Americans, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and school lunch programs. It also authorized the CCC “to pay for added processing, packaging, and handling costs for foods acquired under price support so that recipient outlets could more fully use them”.[82]
  • The Disaster Loan Act (1949) made farmers who experienced severe crop losses due to natural disasters eligible for special low-interest loans.[83]
  • A loan program was authorized (1949) for expanding and improving rural telephone facilities.[84]

Federal reclamation and power projects

Truman's Fair Deal reclamation program called for expanded public distribution of federally produced electric power and endorsed restrictions on the amount of land an owner could irrigate from federal water projects. Lobbying efforts by privately owned power companies prevented the spread of public utilities. Political pressure and conflicts with the Budget Bureau and the Army Corps of Engineers kept the Bureau of Reclamation from enforcing the excess land law.[85]

  • Rural electrification and public power were extended.[86]
  • New conservation projects were initiated.[77]
  • Funds for the Tennessee Valley Authority were significantly increased.[77]
  • Funds were provided for western land reclamation.[87]
  • Funds were provided for hydroelectric power stations.[87]
  • Flood control developments were expanded.[88]
  • Some money was spent on public works.[9]
  • Appropriations for the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Rural Electrification Administration were increased (1950).[78]
  • Funding for the Reclamation Bureau's hydroelectric, water control, and irrigation projects in the west was increased.

See also


  1. ^ Richard E. Neustadt, "Congress and the Fair Deal: A Legislative Balance Sheet", Public Policy, 5 (1954): 349–81, reprinted in Alonzo L. Hamby ed., Harry S. Truman and the Fair Deal (1974) p. 29
  2. ^ Mark S. Byrnes, The Truman Years 1945–1953
  3. ^ Alonzo L. Hamby, "The Vital Center, the Fair Deal, and the Quest for a Liberal Political Economy," American Historical Review, June 1972, Vol. 77 Issue 3, pp 653–78 online at JSTOR
  4. ^ a b Hamby, Alonzo L. Harry S. Truman and the Fair Deal (1974) page vii.
  5. ^ Harry S. Truman: Special Message to the Congress Presenting a 21-Point Program for the Reconversion Period. Presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  6. ^ Hamby, Harry S. Truman and the Fair Deal, page 15.
  7. ^ Truman delivers his Fair Deal speech — History.com This Day in History — 1/5/1949. History.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  8. ^ Truman to Carter: A post-War History of the United States of America by Peter J. Mooney and Colin Brown
  9. ^ a b c d e f The Truman Years 1945–1953 by Mark S. Byrnes
  10. ^ Hamby 1995
  11. ^ "The Fair Deal". United States History. 30 Mar. 2008 <http://countrystudies.us/united-states/history-115.htm>.
  12. ^ De Luna, Phyllis Komarek. Public Versus Private Power During the Truman Administration : a Study of Fair Deal Liberalism. New York: Peter Lang, 1997. 35–36.
  13. ^ Robert A. Taft, The Papers of Robert A. Taft: 1949–1953 edited by Clarence E. Wunderlin (2006) p. 81
  14. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=U5FNJxIQFG0C&pg=PA348&dq=liberal+Congress+1938&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fjpNVfaAHKKR7AaW9IDICQ&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=liberal%20Congress%201938&f=false
  15. ^ a b Truman by David McCullough
  16. ^ The Welfare State Reader, edited by Christopher Pierson and Francis G. Castles
  17. ^ President Truman (1947). "President Truman's Address to the NAACP, June 28, 1947". National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
  18. ^ Philip H. Vaughan, "The Truman Administration's Fair Deal for Black America," Missouri Historical Review, April 1976, Vol. 70 Issue 3, pp 291–305
  19. ^ Hillary Rodham Clinton, Living history (2003) p. 145
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Social Security History. Ssa.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  21. ^ Healthcare reform in America: a reference handbook by Jennie J. Kronenfeld and Michael R. Kronenfeld
  22. ^ American Presidents and Health Reform: A Chronolgy Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine. Hhnmag.com (1966-07-01). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  23. ^ The food safety information handbook by Cynthia A. Roberts
  24. ^ The U.S. healthcare certificate of need sourcebook by Robert James Cimasi
  25. ^ The new public health: an introduction for the 21st century by Theodore H. Tulchinsky and Elena Varavikova
  26. ^ a b The changing federal role in U.S. health care policy by Jennie J. Kronenfeld
  27. ^ http://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/History/downloads/presidentcmsmilestones.pdf
  28. ^ a b The theory and practice of American National Government by Carl Brent Swisher
  29. ^ a b Government and public health in America by Ronald Hamowy
  30. ^ a b c d e Legislative Chronology – The NIH Almanac – National Institutes of Health (NIH). Nih.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  31. ^ http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WhatWeDo/History/Milestones/ucm128305.htm
  32. ^ Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1949–1953 by Robert J. Donovan
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i Social Security History. Ssa.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  34. ^ A new deal for social security By Peter J. Ferrara and Michael Tanner
  35. ^ a b c d https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40428.pdf
  36. ^ Christine Todd. "Poverty Reduction and Welfare Provision for Single Parents in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and the United States – A Comparative Analysis" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-02-16.
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Further reading

  • Donovan, Robert J. Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945–1948 (1977); Tumultuous Years: 1949–1953 (1982) detailed 2-vol political history
  • Hamby, Alonzo L. (June 1972). "The Vital Center, the Fair Deal, and the Quest for a Liberal Political Economy". American Historical Review. 77 (3): 653–78. doi:10.2307/1870345. JSTOR 1870345.
  • Hamby, Alonzo L. Man of the People: A Life of Harry S Truman (1995)
  • Smith, Jason Scott. "The Fair Deal" in Daniel S. Margolies, ed. A Companion to Harry S. Truman (2012) pp 210–21; excerpt and text search; 630pp
1950 United States elections

The 1950 United States elections were held on November 7, 1950, and elected the members of the 82nd United States Congress. The election took place during the Korean War, during Democratic President Harry S. Truman's second (only full) term. The Democrats lost twenty-eight seats to the Republican Party in the House of Representatives. The Democrats also lost five seats in the U.S. Senate to the Republicans. Congressman Vito Marcantonio's defeat left third parties without representation in Congress for the first time since 1908.

Like his predecessor Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, Truman and the Democratic party managed to maintain control of both houses, defying the six-year itch phenomenon for the second time in a row. However, the election was still a defeat for Truman, as it strengthened the conservative coalition and ensured that none of Truman's Fair Deal policies would pass. Republicans also ran against Truman's prosecution of the Korean War, and the 82nd Congress subsequently conducted numerous investigations into the course of the war. The election set the stage for the presidency of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower and the centrist policies of the 1950s.

1952 United States presidential election in Florida

The 1952 United States presidential election in Florida took place on November 4, 1952, as part of the 1952 United States presidential election. Florida voters chose ten representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.Florida was won by Columbia University President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R–New York), running with Senator Richard Nixon, with 54.99 percent of the popular vote, against Adlai Stevenson (D–Illinois), running with Senator John Sparkman, with 44.97 percent of the popular vote.

In contrast to Herbert Hoover's anti-Catholicism-driven victory in the state in 1928, Eisenhower's victory was entirely concentrated in the newer and more liberal South Florida counties, which had seen extensive Northern settlement since the war, did not have a history of slave-based plantation farming, and saw Eisenhower as more favourable to business than the Democratic Party. Eisenhower swept the urban areas of Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota and Tampa, but failed to gain much support in the northwestern pineywoods that had been the core of the 1928 "Hoovercrat" bolt. In this region – inhabited by socially exceptionally conservative poor whites who had been voting in increasing numbers since Florida abolished its poll tax – Democratic loyalties dating from the Civil War remained extremely strong and economic populism hostile in general toward urban areas kept voters loyal to Stevenson. Whereas the urban voters who turned to Eisenhower felt wholly disfranchised both locally and nationally by the one-party system and malapportionment, rural poor voters supported the New Deal/Fair Deal status quo.In contrast to the wholly Deep South states of Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina, where former Thurmond voters turned to Eisenhower, Florida – although akin to those states in entirely lacking traditional Appalachian, Ozark or German "Forty-Eighter" Republicanism – did not see its 1948 Dixiecrat voters or black belt whites turn over to Eisenhower on a large scale, although they were less loyal than in North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, where traditional Republicanism did exist.

As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Collier County voted for a Democratic presidential candidate.

Australian Aborigines' League

The Australian Aborigines' League was established in Melbourne, Australia, in 1934 by William Cooper and others, including Margaret Tucker, Eric Onus, Anna and Caleb Morgan, and Shadrach James.In a Letter to the Editor of the West Australian, the Hon. Secretary of the Australian Aborigines League, William Cooper wrote that, "The plea of our league is "a fair deal for the dark race."An early initiative by the League was to petition King George V for Indigenous Australians to be represented in the Australian Parliament, among other requests. 1,814 signatures were collected on the petition, although it was reported that William Cooper believed many Aboriginal people living on missions were too afraid to add their signature.In 1938 it joined the New South Wales based Aborigines Progressive Association in staging a Day of Mourning on Australia Day (26 January) in Sydney to draw attention to the treatment of Aborigines and to demand full citizenship and equal rights. Mr. W. Ferguson, organising secretary of the Aborigines' Progressive Association of New South Wales, said of the planned national day of mourning: "The aborigines do not want protection... We have been protected for 150 years, and look what has become of us. Scientists have studied us and written books about us as though we were some strange curiosities, but they have not prevented us from contracting tuberculosis and other diseases, which have wiped us out in thousands."On 6 December 1938, following the Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany, a delegation of League members, led by Cooper, went to the German Consulate in Melbourne with a petition protesting against the “cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany”.The League was less active after Cooper’s death in 1941 but was revived after the Second World War by Douglas Nicholls and by Eric and Bill Onus. In the 1960s it became the Victorian branch of the Aborigines Advancement League.

Brent Spence

Brent Spence (December 24, 1874 – September 18, 1967), a native of Newport, Kentucky, was a long time Democratic Congressman, attorney, and banker from Northern Kentucky.

Spence was born in Newport, Kentucky to Philip and Virginia (Berry) Spence. He was graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1894 with a degree in law and was admitted to the bar that same year. He married Ida Bitterman on September 6, 1919.

He was very active in local and state politics, serving first in the Kentucky Senate, 1904–1908, then as city solicitor of Newport, 1916-1924. In 1930 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 5th District; he held this position from March 4, 1931 until January 3, 1963 when most of his district was merged with the neighboring 4th District of fellow Democrat Frank Chelf. He lost the ensuring primary to Chelf. At the time of his retirement, Spence was one of the oldest members to serve in the House; he was 88 years old at the end of his career.

Spence chaired the U.S. House Banking and Currency Committee (1943–1963, except for four years when Republicans controlled Congress). He was a delegate to the 44-nation Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, to promote fair commerce. This led to creating the International Monetary Fund and Bank, and Spence's sponsoring legislation in Congress. Spence was a strong supporter of the New Deal and the Fair Deal. During President Roosevelt's administration, he supported the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Social Security Act, and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

Altogether Spence was a quiet man, who was not a good public speaker. However, he was known for his impartial leadership and could get critical legislation passed. His background in banking is credited for leading him to sponsor the Export-Import Federal Deposit Insurance Act, which doubled insured savings accounts from $5,000 to $10,000.

The Brent Spence Bridge of I-75/I-71 which crosses the Ohio River at Covington, Kentucky is named for him. He resided in Fort Thomas, Kentucky at the time of his death. His funeral service was at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Newport, where he was a lifetime member, then buried in Evergreen Cemetery (Southgate, Kentucky).

Dead Shrimp Blues

"Dead Shrimp Blues" is a song written by Robert Johnson.It is from the recording sessions of November 26 and 27, 1936, in San Antonio, Texas along with "32-20 Blues", "They're Red Hot", "Cross Road Blues", "Walkin' Blues", "Last Fair Deal Gone Down", "Preaching Blues" and "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day".

Eastern Daily Press

The Eastern Daily Press (EDP) is a regional newspaper covering Norfolk, and northern parts of Suffolk and eastern Cambridgeshire, and is published daily in Norwich, UK.

Founded in 1870 as a broadsheet called the Eastern Counties Daily Press, it changed its name to the Eastern Daily Press in 1872. It moved to the compact (tabloid) format in the mid-1990s. The paper is now owned and published by Archant, formerly known as Eastern Counties Newspapers Group.

It aims to represent the interests of the local population in the region in a non-partisan way with its mission statement being to 'champion a fair deal for the future prosperity of the region'. Despite its commitment to regional issues, the EDP covers national (and international) news and sport with the aim of being a substitute for a national paper.

The paper also produces a sister edition, the Norwich Evening News.

Fair Deal Cafe

Fair Deal Cafe was a historically significant diner for the African American community in North Omaha, Nebraska. Once known as the "Black City Hall", Fair Deal was located at North 24th & Burdette in the Near North Omaha neighborhood from 1954 - 2003.

Housing Act of 1949

The American Housing Act of 1949 (P.L. 81-171) was a landmark, sweeping expansion of the federal role in mortgage insurance and issuance and the construction of public housing. It was part of President Harry Truman's program of domestic legislation, the Fair Deal.

Just like You (Keb' Mo' album)

Just Like You is the third studio album by Delta blues artist Keb' Mo', released in 1996. It features guest artists Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt, both on the title track "Just Like You". Unlike the first album, Just Like You features a more blues-pop to blues-rock feel and more of its tracks feature a full band. In 1997, Just Like You won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.


Katatonia are a Swedish metal band formed in Stockholm in 1991 by Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström. The band started as a studio-only project for the duo, as an outlet for the band's love of death metal. Increasing popularity lead them to add more band members for live performances, though outside of the band's founders, the lineup was constantly changing, revolving door of musicians throughout the 1990s, notably including Mikael Åkerfeldt of the band Opeth for a period. After two death/doom albums, Dance of December Souls (1993) and Brave Murder Day (1996), problems with Renkse's vocal cords coupled with new musical influences lead the band away from the screamed vocals of death metal to a more traditional, melodic form of heavy metal music. The band released two more albums, Discouraged Ones (1998) and Tonight's Decision (1999), before settling into a stable quintet lineup for all of 2000's. The band released four more albums with said lineup - Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001), Viva Emptiness (2003), The Great Cold Distance (2006), and Night Is the New Day (2009), with the band slowly moving away from their metal sound while adding more progressive rock sounds to their work over time. While lineup changes started up again into the 2010s, Renkse and Nyström persisted, and the band continued on to release their ninth and tenth studio albums, Dead End Kings (2012) and The Fall of Hearts (2016). After touring in support of the album through 2017, the band entered a hiatus at the beginning of 2018. The band returned from their hiatus in February 2019.

Last Fair Deal Gone Down

"Last Fair Deal Gone Down" is a song by American blues musician Robert Johnson. It was recorded during Johnson's third recording session in San Antonio, Texas, on November 27, 1936. The song was released on a 78 rpm record in April the following year by Vocalion Records as the second side of "32-20 Blues". It was included on the first reissue of Johnson's songs, King of the Delta Blues Singers in 1961. In 1990, it was released on compact disc as part of The Complete Recordings box set, and in 2000 it was included in Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4.

The song connects some scenes of gambling, work and romance, by situating them on the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad. The expression "Deal Go Down" comes from the card game "Georgia Skin".The railroad serves as more than a setting; Max Haymes finds, in the one unclear verse, a furious description of the convict lease work used when the railroad was laid, before Johnson was born. Elijah Wald agrees that the song features lyrics and structure of an archaic work song, similar to "It Makes A Long Time Man Feel Bad"; the traditional melody and structure were adapted from Charley Patton's record, "You're Gonna Need Somebody When You Die" (1929), its lyrics discarded. David Brackett describes the musical changes, "Johnson modifies this arrangement, simplifying the high-register slide part... and adding a contrasting syncopated figure in the middle of the recording (but omitting the sermon)." But Wald traces also lyrics borrowed from the song "Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down", recorded by Fiddlin' John Carson among others, which might have suggested to Johnson some of the changes in arrangement.Artists who later interpreted the song include Keb Mo, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Todd Rundgren, C.W. Stoneking and the Blue Tits, Crooked Still, and Beck in concert.

Last Fair Deal Gone Down (album)

Last Fair Deal Gone Down is the fifth studio album by Swedish band Katatonia, released in 2001 by Peaceville Records. The release was the first of a series of four albums done by the band with a stable line up of Jonas Renkse, Anders Nyström, Fredrik Norrman, Mattias Norrman, and Daniel Liljekvist, after years of lineup and role changes with prior albums.

Leon Keyserling

Leon Hirsch Keyserling (January 11, 1908 – August 9, 1987) was an American economist and lawyer. During his career he helped draft major pieces of Fair Deal legislation and advised President Harry S. Truman as head of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Maurice J. Tobin

Maurice Joseph Tobin (May 22, 1901 – July 19, 1953) was a Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, the Governor of Massachusetts, and United States Secretary of Labor. He was a Democrat and a liberal who supported the New Deal and Fair Deal programs, and was outspoken in his support for labor unions. However, he had little success battling against the conservative majorities in the Massachusetts legislature, and the U.S. Congress.

Modern liberalism in the United States

Modern American liberalism is the dominant version of liberalism in the United States. Ideologically, all US parties are liberal and always have been. Essentially, they espouse classical liberalism—that is, a form of democratized Whig constitutionalism plus the free market. The point of difference comes with the influence of social liberalism, and combines ideas of civil liberty and equality with support for social justice and a mixed economy. Economically, modern American liberalism opposes cuts to the social safety net and supports a role for government in reducing inequality, providing education, ensuring access to healthcare, regulating economic activity, and protecting the natural environment.This form of liberalism took shape in twentieth century America, as the franchise and other civil rights were extended to a larger class of citizens. Major examples include Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism, Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, Harry S. Truman's Fair Deal, John F. Kennedy's New Frontier, and Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society.

In the first half of the twentieth century, both major American parties had a conservative wing and a liberal wing. The conservative northern Republicans and the conservative southern Democrats formed the Conservative Coalition which dominated the US congress in the pre-Civil Rights era. As the Democratic Party under President Lyndon Johnson began to support civil rights, the formerly Solid South, meaning solidly Democratic, became solidly Republican, except in districts with a large number of African-American voters.

Starting in the twentieth century, there has been a sharp division between liberals, who tend to live in denser, more heterogeneous communities, and conservatives, who tend to live in less dense, more homogeneous communities. Liberals as a group are referred to as the Left and conservatives the Right. The Democratic Party is considered liberal, and the Republican Party is considered conservative.

Oh Baby Don't You Weep

"Oh Baby Don't You Weep" is a song recorded in 1964 by James Brown and The Famous Flames. Based upon the spiritual "Mary Don't You Weep", it was recorded as an extended-length track and released as the first two-part single of Brown's recording career. It peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #4 on the Cash Box R&B Chart. (At the time of the single's release, Billboard's R&B singles chart had been temporarily suspended). It was the last original song featuring the Famous Flames to chart, not counting the 1964 re-release of "Please, Please, Please" and the 1966 B-side release of the Live at the Apollo performance of "I'll Go Crazy".

"Oh Baby, Don't You Weep" was originally issued with dubbed-in audience noise to simulate a live recording and added to the otherwise authentic live album Pure Dynamite: Live At The Royal. The song's last-minute addition to the album helped make it a hit, propelling it to #10 on the Billboard album chart.Brown plays the role of the song's narrator, a man comforting a woman devastated by lost love:

The Famous Flames support Brown's lead vocal with gospel-inspired chants of "Oh baby, don't you weep". During the course of the song, the theme suddenly changes, as Brown sings of famous entertainers he has met in his travels ("I've got a lot of friends in my business"), and then begins to quote titles of songs recorded by them, such as Jackie Wilson ("You Better Stop Dogging Me Around"), Solomon Burke and Wilson Pickett ("If You Need Me....Call Me" and "It's Too Late"), Sam Cooke ("You Send Me") Ray Charles ("Born To Lose") and Famous Flames member Bobby Byrd's solo release ("I Found Out Now")."Oh Baby Don't You Weep" was the last new recording Brown made for King Records for over a year. An incident during the recording session in which producer Gene Redd criticized Brown's piano playing as "musically incorrect" brought to a head his disagreements with label owner Syd Nathan and his staff. In response, Brown and Famous Flame Bobby Byrd formed a production company, Fair Deal Record Corporation, and accepted an offer from Mercury Records to release new recordings on their Smash subsidiary. With Brown gone, Nathan resorted to releasing rejected songs and outtakes from earlier recording sessions in the ensuing months. Eventually King's lawyers took the dispute to court and obtained a ruling preventing Brown from issuing his vocal recordings on other labels. In mid-1965 Brown returned to King to release the hit "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag". He continued to record instrumentals and produce records for other performers on Smash through 1967.

Despite its hit status, "Oh Baby Don't You Weep" has rarely been heard on radio or reissued since its original 1964 release. It appears on the Roots of a Revolution compilation album and CD in its originally recorded version without the dubbed-in crowd noise, and on the 2007 Hip-O Select release James Brown: The Singles Vol. 2. It inspired a cover version by Eddie Money.

Recession of 1949

The Recession of 1949 was a downturn in the United States lasting for 11 months. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession began in November 1948 and lasted until October 1949.The 1948 recession was a brief economic downturn; forecasters of the time expected much worse, perhaps influenced by the poor economy in their recent lifetime. The recession began shortly after President Truman's "Fair Deal" economic reforms. The recession also followed a period of monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve.

The Black Sessions

The Black Sessions is the second greatest hits compilation album by Swedish metal band Katatonia, released on February 21, 2005 through Peaceville. The compilation includes hit songs, B-sides and rarities recorded on the band's previous studio albums (from Tonight's Decision to Viva Emptiness). A live DVD for the band performing in Krakow, Poland in April 2003 is also included in the compilation.

The song "Wait Outside" is recorded during the Viva Emptiness recording session but previously unreleased anywhere. A remixed and remastered version of the song is included on the 10th anniversary edition of Viva Emptiness.

Travis Smith (artist)

Travis Smith (born February 26, 1970) is an American graphic artist best known for designing heavy metal album art. He has been called "renowned" by Alternative Press and "unquestionably one of the most talented graphic artists in metal today" by Chronicles of Chaos. Smith has done work for many established rock and metal bands, including Death, Devin Townsend, Katatonia, Nevermore, Opeth, Anathema, CKY, Soilwork, King Diamond, Novembre, Avenged Sevenfold, Strapping Young Lad, Persefone and Riverside.

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