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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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GI Bill Legacies

(p.187) Conclusion
Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill

Stephen R. Ortiz

NYU Press

This concluding chapter explores the veteran organizations' rivalry and the creation of the GI Bill in light of New Deal-era veteran political activism. During World War II, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) originally supported a new Bonus policy for returning veterans, however, it was the American Legion (AL) that pushed for expansive GI Bill benefits. The competition between these organizations drove the AL to outdo its fierce rival for the allegiance of World War II veterans. Competition for new members and for the new bureaucratic jobs that an expanding federal veteran welfare system might create moved the AL to promote a federal policy antithetical to its founders' avowed conservatism. And, while federal veterans' policy as written in the GI Bill emerged as a symbol of the new path postwar liberalism might take, it also cemented the dominant position of the AL and the VFW as the cornerstones of the twentieth-century veterans' lobby.

Keywords:   GI Bill, veteran political activism, twentieth-century veterans' lobby, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, World War II

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