Roosevelt’s initiative aimed to create a vast public works program for the unemployed, which did not involve African Americans and most minorities. The Midwest and western states saw heavy use of WPA or “Works Progress Administration” as well as the Civilian Conservation Corps ( CCC) which supplied workers to National Forests and Parks as well as reservations for work on projects related to natural resource, buildings, roads, bridges.
While many would debate that Roosevelt’s “New Deal” failed because it procrastinated the great depression. during his second term, Roosevelt’s government spending and deficits were a major issue. While unemployment had declined during his first term unemployment remained high across the nation. Unemployment by 1937 was at 14%, thinking that the economy had taken a turn but fearing inflation he supported the federal reserve ‘s tighter restrictions on credit and major spending cuts to balance the Federal Government. However, this messed things up even more and by 1938, unemployment was up to 19%, due to rising interest rates and less spending by the public.
I think if anything the great depression forced Americans to be more involved within the government system. With such new projects as parks, clinics, and affordable housing, many Americans came to view the government as a resource in their own efforts to grow their communities. Many Americans felt that the New Deal had shown that the federal governments process had worked, and that justification was 4 million unemployed Americans were back to work within weeks.
My biggest issue with the New deal is Roosevelt’s ineffectiveness to utilize the programs to effectively promote equality among African Americans and minorities. I think the reason for this was in order to pass the legislation, he needed the support of the southern democrats. Roosevelt deeply feared southern Democrats and was fearful that they would block his bills if he supported civil rights.
One of FDR’s programs seemed to be at most colorblind, this being the WPA, however this only really benefited African Americans in Northern states. One of the most impactful events was that’s most African Americans made their living as sharecroppers and tenant farmers, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration or the AAA, acreage reduction hit them the hardest. Because of this, the AAA’s policies took over 100,000 African Americans off the land and out of work in 1933 and 1934. White landlords could make more money by leaving land untilled than by putting it back into production.
Most if not all the programs were discriminatory against African Americans. The NRA being one for example offered whites fist opportunities and authorized separate and lower pay for African Americans when jobs were available. The Federal Housing Authority refuse African Americans mortgages to buy homes in white neighborhoods, along with such legislation as the Social Security Act which excluded jobs that typically were dominated by African Americans.
Whether you agree or disagree that FDR did too much or too little, he did however change the way in which Americans viewed their government. The nation had at last accepted that the “laissez faire” would no longer work in a modern industrial society. Before Roosevelt’s first term, fear and uncertainty gripped the nation, with fascism being dictated to people around the world. In my opinion, FDR’s, ‘ New Deal “had stabilized the nation throughout the worst of the depression and possibly could have ended it, if not for World War II. He provided leadership hope and communication to a country desperate for strong leadership. I think that FDR did his best to preserve the American democratic system. By strategizing a combination of reform, relief, and recovery.