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Beyond the Bonus March and GI BillHow Veteran Politics Shaped the New Deal Era$
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Stephen R. Ortiz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814762134

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814762134.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill

Stephen R. Ortiz

NYU Press

This introductory chapter examines the transformation of veteran policies throughout the interwar years, one that paralleled the changes to twentieth-century American liberalism during the same period. The sweeping Bonus-March-to-GI-Bill narrative is briefly summarized and hence contextualized into the spheres of federal veterans' policy, institutional rivalries between the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, and the larger political milieu. Interwar federal policies had provoked repeated political mobilizations by veterans and veteran organizations seeking to reverse or amend those policy decisions. Elected officials in Congress, bureaucrats, and presidents were all forced to conceptualize and implement veterans policy—and in many cases, to reconceptualize it and re-implement it—in response to the strength of veteran organizations' political activism and in deference to the “soldiers' vote.” In the process, veteran issues and veteran politics drew to the epicenter of larger political battles.

Keywords:   Bonus March, GI Bill, veteran politics, war veteran policies, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, American politics, interwar years

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