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To What extent had the New Deal been successful in overcoming the Depression in the United States by 1941?

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To What extent had the New Deal been successful in overcoming the Depression in the United States by 1941? The Great Depression was a catastrophic phenomenon in which America faced during 1929-1941. It had caused unprecedented hardships to businesses, workers, farmers and ethnic minorities. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 triggered the slew of the stock market meltdown characterised by bank closures, depositors lost their monies, farm lands were auctioned, and 25% of working force were unemployed. Prior to the stock market crash, symptoms of economic disaster were showing such as gross imbalance in wealth distribution (0.1% of the population earned 42% of the income of the masses), excessive production of goods, natural calamities known as dust bowls hit farm lands, etc. By now, disappointment of the American people on Herbert Hoover's "laissez-faire" governmental approach to reverse the crisis was escalating. In the 1932 November election, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won a landslide victory and therefore officially became President on early March 1933. "I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people." Roosevelt informed the convention in his acceptance speech. The New Deal was a suite of economic and social programs and legislation initiated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of USA (1933-1945), in hope to solve the economical crisis America was facing and to restore confidence in the people of America. Most historians categorize these initiatives as the 3R's: Direct Relief was the first; those millions of Americans who were in desperate need of food and money were helped; Economic Recovery was the second; government had to intervene in order to lead the country out of the depression; Reform was the third; mistakes and faults had to be set right in order for the United States of America to advance forward.


The Tennessee Valley Authority of 1933 was considered the most successful program to Roosevelt within the New Deal schemes. The multipurpose aims of the TVA were based on agriculture regeneration, flood control, and cheaper power and electricity. This allowed the federal government to build dams and power plants in Tennessee Valley. The high dams the TVA built ended the annual threat of flooding and provided the major source of energy. TVA power lines reached through Tennessee and even into other states surrounding Tennessee such as Alabama and Mississippi. In Tennessee Valley itself the number of farms electrified by 1945 increased by 73 percent from 1933. The TVA played a crucial role in self-sustaining economic growth in southern eastern states. It did not only improve farming conditions and agriculture, but also improved the rate of employment. There were many other Acts that concerned farming but did not play a big part in the New Deal schemes. They were mainly made for improvements on farm security. Examples of these acts are the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 and the Farm Tenancy Act of 1937. In any significant economic recovery, the most important measure would have to be the generosity with which the New Deal, in this case, aided the unemployed. Roosevelt tried to solve the problem of many young unemployed men by creating the Civilian Conservative Corps in 1933. Under this scheme, unemployed, unmarried men between the ages of 18-25 were put on the government payroll to work on reforestation and conservation projects. The CCC concurrently provided job training skills which prepared the men to step into private sector jobs as soon as the economy recovered.


and Conservatives - this group of people are usually the wealthy and are not willing to share their wealth in the form of higher taxes, centralization of powers in the Federal government, etc. New Deal programs were financed by increased taxes (excise taxes, personal income taxes, inheritance taxes, corporate taxes, "excess profits" taxes, from $1.6 billion in 1933 to $5.3 billion in 1940. It was because of this opposition that Roosevelt moved towards the left during the Second New Deal, most schemes were more favourable for the opposition. In conclusion, with the benefit of present knowledge and hindsight, it is in my considered view that the New Deal was successful in keeping America afloat then and prevented the country from adopting extreme regime such as some countries in Europe where communism or fascism or a totalitarian system was adopted. The New Deal did not eliminate poverty, unfair treatment of minorities and continuing high unemployment persists. It did not end the Depression nor effectively addressed the underlying causes of economic and social problems; but it did improved life for millions and restored confidence. Notwithstanding being marginalized to a certain extent by New Deal programs, the minorities especially the African American were made aware of their civil rights. The New Deal measures did not end the Depression and it was not until the government spent huge amounts of money financing war production for allies in World War II that ended the Depression. This revived economy, created unprecedented prosperity for millions of Americans with increase productions and real income improvements. ?? ?? ?? ??

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