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How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression Essay

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States of America. His tenure ran from 1933 to 1945. Franklin Roosevelt was born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York City. He attended the prestigious Harvard University before proceeding to Columbia Law School. President Franklin got married to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905. Franklin Roosevelt entered into public service through politics as a member of the Democrat Party. In 1910, Franklin Roosevelt won the senate seat and become the senator of New York. A few years after the elections, Franklin was appointed assistant secretary of the navy by President Woodrow Wilson. In 1920, he was nominated by the democrats for to be there vice president. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was elected president of the United States of America.

Heale states that the Americans were not happy with the failures of President Hoover. President Hoover failed to intervene and help save the American economy from the depression. The American citizens were thus ready for change (2007). Since they view Franklin Roosevelt as the most suitable candidate with the qualities that they desired, they voted him into presidency. His incredible and marvelous works as a governor made him the best choice for Democrats presidential candidate. By March 1933, America was hit by the worst economic depression. More than thirteen million were rendered jobless and nearly all businesses and commercial banks closed their operations. On observing this, President Franklin Roosevelt formulated the 100 Days Program which was intended to bring back the once glorious American economy back to normal.

His proposal, The New Deal, which was also enacted by the US Congress as well, was meant to revive the major economic sectors of United States, especially the manufacturing, business and agricultural industries. The great depression hit America immediately after the crash of the Wall Street in October 1929. As a governor of New York, Franklin made strenuous efforts to help those who were unemployed. According to Leuchtenburg, President Franklin believed that the great depression resulted from low production in the agricultural and industrial sectors, unequal distribution of wealth, malpractices in the financial sector as well as international economic situations (2004). The New Deal proposal was to bring relief to unemployment. It was designed to help those who risked losing their homes and farm plantations.

The New Deal was to bring new reforms, for example, through establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority. By mid 1935, US had achieved considerable amount of economic recovery from the depression. Hoverer, more and more businessmen and bankers were turning against Franklin’s New Deal program. According to Norton and others, the bankers and businessmen feared President Franklin’s political and economic experiments (Norton et al., 2011). In the reforms programs, President Franklin proposed that the Federal Government was to provide adequate social security to its citizens. The wealthy people were to be taxed heavily. Banks and other public utilities were to be put under new controls by the federal government. He further proposed enormous work reliefs for the unemployed.

After his re-election in 1936, President Franklin formulated constitution laws that enabled the federal government to legally regulate the economy. In his New Deal proposal, Franklin Roosevelt sought through neutrality legislations that would keep United States of America out of war with Europe. However, when the Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese in 1941, President Franklin redirected all the resources of the nation towards global war with Japan, during the Second World War. During his presidency, America was hit by the worst economic depression ever seen in its history. According to Leuchtenburg, Franklin helped Americans regain hope and faith in themselves during the great depression (20004). Description of the New Deal

According to Heale, the New Deal was an inclusive sequence programs that were designed and enacted by US Congress and signed by President Franklin Roosevelt to combat the great depression through ensuring appropriate strategies for improving the social and economic status of the American people (2007). Through the New Deal, American farmers were given the Agricultural Adjustment Act which endowed farmers with funds for agricultural activities. The National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA) was formulated to help in regulation fair competition within the manufacturing and trade industries. Furthermore, the New Deal provided Americans with collective bargaining power. Various state organizations such as the Public Works Administration (PWA), which was mandated to construct public transport infrastructure such as roads and railway lines and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which provided re-insurance services to banks were created.

Similarly, President Franklin created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) which was meant to provide navigation services, generate hydroelectric power as well as controlling flood in the Tennessee River Valley. TVA was also responsible for regional growth and development of the Tennessee River Valley. According to Leuchtenburg, Tennessee River Valley was the poorest region in America during that time and thus President Franklin’s initiative to induce regional development in the area was incredible and of great importance to Tennessee people (2004). In order to curb high rates of unemployment, President Franklin instigated a special work program through the New Deal proposal in which jobless citizens were to perform various tasks to help in conservation and protection of the environment. The program, which was dubbed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), enabled its members to plant trees, help in draining swamps that would otherwise be bearing sites for malaria causing mosquitoes, restocking of rivers with fish to increase fish production and other projects that were directed towards environmental conservation.

According to Heale, President Franklin’s New Deal brought more benefits to the American people through development projects and programs that were tailored towards creating job opportunities (2007). This greatly helped in alleviating poverty and eradicating the sufferings of the American people after US was hit by the great depression. Leuchtenburg asserts that the New Deal consisted of two phases. The first phase consisted of reform programs that were tailored towards recovery from effects of the great depression by supporting business and agricultural activities (2004). These programs were to help in regulation prices, reducing inflation rates and creation of job opportunities through increased public works.

On the other hand, the second phase was to provide legislations for regulating social and economic growth and development. Through such legislations, huge numbers were targeted to benefit from the undertaking of president Franklin initiatives. According to historian Thomas A. Bailey, the New Deal focused on the three R’s of economic growth and development, namely; Relief, Reform and Recovery. He further explain that this three items of the New Deal entailed providing relief to the poor and unemployed citizens of US, recovering the economy for the impacts of the great depression and lastly, reforming the financial sector of the to prevent further economic depression (Norton et al., 2011).

Criticism of the New Deal

Although the New Deal was warmly received by many Americans, including labor unions, minority groups as well as human rights organizations, it received a variety of harsh criticisms. The major opponents of the New Deal were politicians form the Republican Party. Republicans opposed the New Deal claiming that President Franklin was misusing public funds. They accused the president for unnecessarily increasing public spending. They also claimed that the president was abusing the office of the president by centralizing the power of the executive government within a few people. Bankers, businesspersons and wealthy Americans also accused President Franklin for imposing high taxes on them.

They believed that the high taxes were punitive in nature and unnecessary. Rosenbaum and Bartelme suggest that even though President Franklin faced strong opposition against his New Deal, he resolved to revive the American citizens’ trust in him by broadening his plans (2009). For instance, he proposed a legislation that would put off employers from interfering with labor unions. In addition, he introduced the federal pensions as well as unemployment insurances schemes in order to assist those who not employed.

Conclusion

Even though President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal received great opposition, it founded strong economic and social policies for the American people. Its legislations are still intact and used in the present America. Through the Federal Reserve System, many banks are today stable and hoard less currency. The New Deal imposed new rules and regulations that help wipe out corrupt dealings in the American banking systems. Today, individual deposits are safe and secure due to the rules that were imposed by President Franklin in his New Deal programs. This has been achieved through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Additionally, through the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt was able to bring about equality between men and women at the workplace. Initially, women were sidelined in the workplace.

However, through a New Deal program dubbed Works Progress Administration, women and men were given equal employment opportunities with the federal government. In my view, this helped in eliminating workplace discrimination against women. Furthermore, it also helped in increasing the total income available for household consumptions, thereby improving the living standards for American families. Previously, it was only men who used to go to work and provide food for their families. However, when the great depression hit the American economy, most people lost their jobs and thus men were not able to adequately provide for their families. Through employment of women, the total income for households was incredibly increased. I would conclude that the New Deal was a great idea for the American people. Through government intervention, President Franklin was able to bring joy to the American citizens.


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