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1929, the stock-market crash and the ensuing Great Depression exposed major weaknesses in the U.S. and world economies. These ranged from chronically low farm prices and uneven income distribution to trade barriers, a surplus of consumer goods, and a constricted money supply. As the crisis deepened, President Hoover struggled to respond. In 1932, with Hoover’s reputation in tatters, FDR and his promised “New Deal” brought a surge of hope. Although FDR’s New Deal did not end the Great Depression it eased the people’s suffering and reformed many of the problems that contributed to the depression by providing relief, recovery, and reform while fundamentally changing the role of the federal government towards the people.
In the 1910’s World War I had happened, which was a very expensive war that thoroughly damaged the economy. President Wilson was wanting to help create peace throughout the nations. To create this “peace” Wilson created his 14 points to provide a path to peace and had the Treaty of Versailles to be signed for all the nations to have peace which ultimately failed.
Thus creating more downfall to the Great Depression. Prior to the election in 1932, Herbert Hoover was president once Calvin Coodilage declined from the electoral race. Hoover had won running against Alfred E. Smith. Hoover had believed in isolationism, individualism, free enterprise, and small government. Though once the stock market crashed and in 1929 when the British raised interest rates in an effort to bring back capital lured abroad American investments because they needed money to trade with America but didn't have the money to pay the high tariffs.
The stock market had caused millions to lose their jobs and banks to close as a result. While the US was the hardest industrialized nation to be hit that caused the Great Depression.
This hit the American people hard and they struggled but looked to their president for recovery. Though President Hoover wanted to balance the idea of “rugged individualism” even with the economic necessities during this time. So Hoover mostly let the people fend for themselves, by avoiding giving a dole to the people to not create dependency on the government. He also did not believe that the government should structure projects and spend money to create jobs because it would not be worth it if the depression was going to be very short and instead of that they should all just wait it out. Other historians also believed that Hoover believed in the “international origins theory” which was that since the Depression was started in Europe, that it was their responsibility to resolve it and that it was not the US problem. This caused lots of problems and deepened the depression.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office, he had a new approach to the depression, which was the opposite of Hoover’s, to know that the depression was in the US and needed to step up and fix these problems. Many People were jobless from the depression with no steady income for any of the necessities. FDR’s response to this was his New Deal which focused on relief recovery and reform. To jumpstart the economy he created jobs for people through the Civilian Conservation Corps that employed about three million in government camps that their work included reforestation, fire fighting, flood control, and swamp drainage.
Document J, which shows the overall unemployment rates of non-farm workers from 1920 until 1945, with the peak of the unemployment following the crash, and only beginning to fall after Hoover’s leave from office and the initiation of the New Deal (Document J). With the jobs skyrocketing after FDR was in office, it proved that the New Deal was very effective. Under Roosevelt, the New Deal was formed, and unemployment dropped from nearly 40% unemployment to 25% unemployment from 1933 to 1937 (Document J). The effectiveness of the New Deal goes beyond lowering unemployment by half. It also goes further, removing obstacles for the common man to organize for self-protection, creating Social Security to benefit all Americans, and helping to ease racial tensions.
In the New Deal, it was a priority to help industry and labor in the US. A cornerstone of the New Deal agency was the National Recovery Administration. It was designed to bring industries together to create a set of “fair” business practices. Which was discussed of working hours being reduced so that more people could be hired; a minimum wage was established and workers were given the right to organize. Though this was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935. The right to organize for self-protection, for the working man to form a Union to protect their rights, was restricted to the point of nonexistence in the anti-worker, pro-business administrations of the Republican-held 1920s. To remedy this, and to increase support among the working man and help to relieve workers, Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act or the Wagner Act in 1935. This act reasserted the rights of labor to engage in self-organization and to bargain collectively through representatives of its own choice.
This gave Unions the legal right to exist for the first time in American history, after decades of labor strife and government support of big business under Republican presidents. John L. Lewis, labor leader and supporter of Roosevelt, gave an address on NBC, defending the act and the rights of workers to organize in 1936, saying,” Huge corporations, such as United States Steel and General Motors…have no right to transgress the law which gives the workers the right of self-organization and collective bargaining.” (Document G). John L. Lewis then formed the Committee for Industrial Organization in 1935 that led a series of strikes, including the strike at General Motors. Thus led Congress to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 where industries in interstate commerce were to set up minimum-wage and maximum-hour levels. Labor by children under the age of sixteen was forbidden. Which is still in place today and helped the workers be fair and not overworked while still obtaining more workers to benefit the economy.
While the Wagner Act addressed the labor problems and allowed men to have a real voice in the marketplace and the ballot box, other effects of the New Deal and its effectiveness are still seen today. FDR had helped with housing and social security for the people. The Federal Housing Administration passed in 1934 attempting to improve the home building industry by giving out small loans to homeowners to improve their homes and buying new ones. Then in 1937 The United States Housing Authority was passed and was designed to lend money to states or communities for low-cost housing developments. Which helped families with homes and jobs for the people. Though with elderly people, they would run out of work and not be able to have a steady income, which then led to the Social Security Act in 1935 which was inspired by nations in Europe. This provided federal-state unemployment insurance and to provide security for old age, specified categories of retired workers were to receive regular payments from Washington.
The purpose of Social Security was to provide support for urbanized Americans who can not support themselves with a farm from their jobs which remains an effective and useful program to this day. The premise of the plan and program was set in Document E, which gives information on the program after it was first established (Document E). Originally, the program was created to bring the elderly out of poverty and showed how FDR’s New Deal was going according to plan.
The New Deal was very socially progressive as well as economically progressive. People were deeply affected by the depression but African Americans were among the hardest that were hit. They began to find themselves out of work with no income and being targeted by the Ku Klux Klan either innocent or not being killed and hanged in the Southern States. FDR saw this problem and created a solution through the New Deal. African American workers were now given jobs alongside white workers all over the nation by the new relief programs established by the New Deal. In an editorial in The Crisis, of the Roosevelt record, the author notes that “...For the first time in their lives, the government has taken on a meaning and substance for the Negrp masses..’ (Document I). While Hoover was in office he had disincluded colored people in certain situations like living in Boulder City for example; but with Roosevelt in office, they were a part of the country and to be considered in everything. This would later stride towards the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s.
Through the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal had reshaped America for the better by pushing up from the economy. Among the acts done through the New Deal to end poverty and eliminate unemployment, the government itself had been reorganized, and the American people finally had a real trust in government from all the previous years of corrupt Republican presidents. (Document H). That even though the New Deal of creating lots of acts to better the people's lives and boost the economy was not what made it so great, but how the people had a new and bigger voice in congress, the president looking out for the people. The New Deal was known that it did not bring instant relief to the economy, but jump-started the industry and brought America back from the Depression.
The Great Depression had been caused by poor choices of the political figures by raising tariffs which then caused the stock market to crash in 1929. Thus the New Deal created by Franklin D. Roosevelt to boost up the economy through federal programs to reverse the nation's decline. These series of programs included public work projects, financial reform, and regulations enacted by FDR. Which benefited but did not fully accomplish their goal. For the nation was very high in debt. As World War Two began and when the US had entered it, this is what finally brought America out of the Depression after the bombing on Pearl Harbor revitalized the nation's economy. World War II had hired people to be in the military and an increase in people for manufacturing to supply for the war to other nations as well as our own. Which the war had brought economic prosperity back to America. Forgoing into this war it was looked at as an economic event to fight the world as a modern industrialized nation.
In conclusion, Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency was successful for the nation for the start of upbringing the economy from the grip of the depression. Through the creation of federal programs of the New Deal Program to stabilize the economy, fix the unemployment downfall, to let the people have a bigger voice in the industry, and to replenish the federal revenue. These programs that were created were quite effective to start the upbringing of the nation but did not fully get there. This changed the role of the government by being trusted by the people.
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