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'As a response to the causes and effects of the Great Depression, the New Deal was a total failure.' Discuss this view.

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Introduction

'As a response to the causes and effects of the Great Depression, the New Deal was a total failure.' Discuss this view. The Great Depression during the interwar years had disastrous effects on American society and the economy. In the United States and many nations, mass unemployment and poverty, bank and business failures were a major problem. In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted to improve the situation by introduced his 'New Deal' programme that was to provide economic relief and reform. The main aims were to reduce the mass unemployment and improve the American economic situation with the introduction of new government policies and agencies. This essay will discuss the policies that were introduced and the impact that these had within the areas that they were applied. There were positive and negative responses to the New Deal legislation and has been defended and criticised for the effects on American society. Therefore, it will consider the view that despite the achievements of the New Deal, it was unsuccessful as resulted in less personal gain and encouraged a state economy. During the interwar years, there was a demand for consumer goods such as domestic appliances and automobiles. America experienced an increase in production, providing employment for the masses. The introduction of credit facilities, whereby money was not necessary to possess these luxuries, the opportunity to acquire such items increased. ...read more.

Middle

on a 'trial-and-error' basis.7 Priority was to be given to the financial situation, and over the first 'Hundred Days', Roosevelt called for the closure of banks and introduced one of fifteen acts of legislation, The Emergency Banking Relief Act. This provided support for the strongest banks, loans for those that were in trouble and closed those that were beyond help. The banks were re-opened the following day with support from the Government bringing a halt to the monetary crisis. Keeping the banking system in the hands of private owners rather than opting for nationalisation, Roosevelt was congratulated for the way in which he dealt with the problem, one of his advisors claiming, 'Capitalism was saved in eight days'.8 The first few years of Roosevelt's administration concentrated on measures to reduce the widespread unemployment and poverty, establishing numerous agencies to combat the problems. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) provided placements on a voluntary basis for male aged between eighteen and twenty-five, and Civil Works Administration (CWA) that provided relief work for the unemployed. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) provided money to those with work relief. The later National Youth Administration (NYA) created by the CWA in 1935, aimed to reduce competition for employment, provided support to education and training.9 Blacks and immigrants already being in the poorer minorities, were severely affected by the depression. The price of cotton fell resulting in the destitution of sharecroppers and tenant farmers, fifty percent of blacks were unemployed in the urban areas and there was an increase in racist attitudes.10 The Agriculture Adjustment Act (AAA) ...read more.

Conclusion

Neither were they to be included in the Social Security Act of 1935 that provided guaranteed income and security in old age.15 Another issue of concern was that of Government intervention within business and banking sectors. This went against the American Capitalist ideology it was considered a step closer to Socialism. The social revolution experienced the massive changes within the work force including the introduction of organised labour and unions, legislation to pay minimum wage and work set hours. The Government felt that it had an obligation to ensure 'the economic and social health of the nation'. Both Left and Right wing opinions were very much the same in that a; mixed economy was unacceptable in the eyes of many, either it was Capitalist or Socialist, there was no in between.16 To conclude, Roosevelt's 'New Deal' was an instant solution to solving the problems that arose as a result of the Great Depression. The major successes were that of solving the banking crisis and giving instant relief for many poor and poverty stricken Americans. These measure were less successful on a long-term basis, economic recovery was slow and with no major changes being made to the system, it was in a fragile state. Unemployment remained high; the agencies that provided work relief did not provide permanent, stable employment opportunities. Despite being concerned with the welfare of the people, many of Roosevelt's policies still left sections of society unequal to others. Although the 'New Deal' was not a total failure, it was not successful in every aspect. ...read more.

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