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The Great Depression Essay

Complete the chart by filling in each president’s views on the Great Depression.

Herbert Hoover
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Causes of the Great Depression

*Weak agricultural and industrial growth in the US was due to foreign competition with domestic businesses, and a solution that helped both domestic and foreign economies grow mutually was not necessary. *The lack of individual and voluntary response to the depression, especially response from industry leaders, was the issue, and policies regarding “CEO philanthropy” should be encouraged in lieu of federal intervention. *Lack of employment was due to a lack of public projects and improvements which needed to be slowly and cautiously funded and regulated.

Weak agriculture and industrial growth was due to a lack of regulation and required federal control and government loans to stop the spiraling depression in these sectors. *Lack of unemployment was due to the lack of state and city government’s ability to sufficiently employ the vast unemployed young men in the US, and federal intervention was absolutely necessary. *Lack of unregulated, unfair business practices in the industrial markets resulted in disenfranchised employees who worked too much for too little. Cutthroat competition between these types of companies resulted in low profit margins, low wages, and low morale.

General description of response to Depression

Beliefs that guided him in his attempt to solve it

He believed that raising prices on foreign products would protect American products from competition.

He believed that citizens, businesses and the government should work together voluntarily instead of being rescued through government mandated programs.

Roosevelt believed that, without a national plan for economic reform, the country would succumb to demagogues like Long and Coughlin.

What he told Americans they had to do to overcome the Depression

Hoover believed that if industry leaders and bigger companies did more volunteer work they could help the economy.

He thus formulated policies based on his idea of voluntary cooperation, which held that business leaders would make sacrifices for the benefit of the nation The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Roosevelt tried to reassure the country about its future.

What agencies he relied on to provide relief

Red Cross, President’s Organization on Unemployment Relief (POUR) – which persuaded local organizations across the country to raise money and to form voluntary groups that would sponsor soup kitchens and clothing exchanges. , Hoover Dam- one of the largest government construction projects ever undertaken, Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The RFC was a federally funded agency that loaned money to businesses with the hope that they would hire more workers. Brain Trust (a group of leading intellectuals charged with formulating policy), Roosevelt proposed a series of dramatic measures meant to reorganize the country’s financial system and raise the living standards of all Americans, especially working Americans. Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), with funding of $500 million. FERA’s chief administrator, Harry Hopkins, preferred public works projects to direct payments to people, believing that the former were more considerate of the recipients’ pride.

Civilization Conservation Corps (CCC), enlisted unemployed young men between the ages of eighteen and twenty five in building and repairing highways, forest service sites, flood control projects, etc.

Significant acts passed during his presidency to help end the Depression

Herbert Hoover Believe the country was rich and full of resources. But after he took his seat in office the stock market crashed and the great depression began. But Hoover was out to do everything he could to stop the depression and turn the country back around. He passed the Hawley-Smoot Tariff act or bill. “Which the bill raised America tariff on agricultural, and manufacture goods by as much as 50 percent” (K.M.Schultz, 2012 para12). The first act FDR passed was the Emergency Banking Reliefs Act. That gave the federal government control over the banks. The next significant act passed was the, National Industrial Recovery Act. Another significant act that Roosevelt pushed for was the National Labor Relations Act. The Social Security act played a huge role in America. One of the more significant acts passed was the Aid to Department Children act.

Success or failure of his program and why

After everything president hoover tried and came up with some of his policies worked and most did not. He helps millions of people but did not end the great depression and most of his programs were failures. Most of the acts passed in the 1900’s by president Roosevelt were all significant, but some more than others but they were all created to improve the country and the people who work and live here. The National Industrial Recovery Act which was a union created to regulate industries and improve the working conditions of the factory workers. The National Labor Relations Act was put in place to oversee industrial compliance and to resolve employee grievances against management (K.M. Schultz, 2012 para 50).

But the Social Security Act was one of the most important acts passed at that time because it was government benefits to help disable workers or people who could not work. Aid to Department Children Act was important because due to the great depression hundreds of children were abandoned and could not take care of them self so this act help them a many ways and made sure they were treated fair and humane. Many acts passed work out for the good of American people and they were put in place to ensure fair treatment of all and to better their lives.

Part 2

Most historians agree that the New Deal did not solve the problems of the Great Depression and that, in short, it failed to bring about full economic recovery. Nevertheless, it can be argued that the New Deal was significant in that it introduced a new political tradition and brought fundamental change in a number of areas to America.

Write a 350-word response to each of the following questions:

What do you think is meant by the statements above? How did the New Deal change America? As nearly ten million men remained unemployed throughout the 1930s, it cannot be said that the New Deal, in its first or second iteration, successfully ended the Great Depression in its own right. However, the New Deal did not permanently change the face of American politics, culture, its views on labor and crime, and its race relations. The idea that federal government involvement or even control of the national economy induces economic recovery remains and shows continued effectiveness even today. The New Deal helped bring the social realities of poverty, prostitution, crime, and suicide to the public stage where it continued to affect culture, social policy, and the national identity (Schultz, 2012).

Although they had existed previously, labor unions had been relatively ineffective in their efforts to protect the interests of laborers against abuse. The empowerment of labor unions and their ability to use strikes to enact necessary change continues to impact today’s skilled and unskilled industries. The New Deal also effectively changed the face of the Democratic Party for decades to come, making it the party of the “producing” class, made up of new immigrant Catholics and Jews, as well as southern whites and a vast majority of African-Americans (Schultz, 2012).

The most significant new policy of the New Deal was definitely Social Security. It remains a highly controversial institution, as do many of the effects of the New Deal. Whether or not it remains an effective practice, Social Security changed the way Americans thought about the federal government, and the idea that it can and should be there as a safety net for its citizens during difficult times persists even today.

Do you think the New Deal changed the relationship between citizens and the federal government and if so, how? For example, should the government help regulate the economy? The new deal changed a lot in America in the early 1900s, because of the fact that things were getting better and the federal government was getting greedy. With things like movies, music, and phonographic records were shaping the country in to a social atmosphere. The radio was also a big thing in the 1900s, for example people could now be entertained on a national level and companies could also advertise on a large scale. The country seems to be doing terrific until the great depression hit; this changed the life of millions. Large company’s closed production slowed completely down, and Americans life was in shambles. But with the country going downhill president Roosevelt had to do something. “ So on March, 5, 1933 he declared a four day national bank holiday and summoned Congress into special session to deal with the worsening situation” (K.M.Schultz,2012 para 30).

This is also what brought the “New Deal” to light. Roosevelt tried to leave the countries temperament and wanted to gain peoples trust back; he created different measure to change the countries finical situation. The United States government tried to do everything possible to change the crisis in America. They help the banks and big corporations with debit relief, by putting money back into the company’s. But many thought that the government was too involved with the regulating the economy; that many believe they may have something to do with the depression and may have caused it. But governments will always have their hand in the economical process of the United States it helps at times but then it makes the country voluble.


Schultz, K. M. (2012). Hist 2 (2nd ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database

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