The Fair Deal faced much opposition from the many conservative politicians who wanted a reduced role of the federal government.
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. Bill, 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.
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".
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.
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 Korean War made military spending the nation's priority and killed almost the whole Fair Deal but did encourage the pursuit of economic growth.
Truman did not send proposed legislation to Congress; he expected Congress to draft the bills.
Incomes had risen faster than prices, which meant that real living standards were considerably higher than seven years earlier.