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History Coursework: The New Deal

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Introduction

History Coursework: The New Deal 1) What were the main features of the New Deal? In 1929, the stock market collapsed causing a worldwide economic depression, destroying America's economy with many people losing their life savings therefore thrusting them into unemployment and poverty. Unemployment reached highs of over 13 million whilst the GNP for the country reached as low as $58 billion, compared to the $100 billion+ pre depression figures, because demand and production fell so dramatically. People were forced out of their homes and moved to shantytowns known as 'Hoovervilles'. The president in power at the time, J. Edgar Hoover, refused to use the government funds in order to help the American people. He believed that America was a land of 'rugged individuals' and that 'prosperity was just around the corner' and so people didn't require any help, although, he did help set up the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which lent money to banks, industry and agriculture. However, this didn't work as people thought that it was 'too little too late' and the suffering continued. In the 1932 elections, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the presidency in a landslide promising the American people a 'New Deal'. When Roosevelt entered the office in March 1933, he had an uphill struggle with the USA in deep economic crisis. He spent the first 100 days from March 9th to June 16th with a group of his employees working on various different legislations which he managed to make the Congress pass. This was Roosevelt's New Deal. Its main aims were to help America recover by reducing unemployment and poverty so that people would have enough money and confidence to invest their money once again and to reform capitalism so that a similar incident to the Wall Street Crash could be prevented in the future. The main features of the New Deal were what are known as the alphabet agencies as they all their names were reduced to acronyms, which were government, funded and employed many people. ...read more.

Middle

Workers were given minimum wages and many companies wore the Golden Eagle, a sign showing that they had voluntarily taken part of the scheme. This did however cause many problems and arguments between some employers. A badly hit area was the Tennessee Valley. It covered large amounts of 6 states which constantly suffered from flooding ruining the livelihoods of the farm workers. There were no alternative jobs available in the area until Roosevelt introduced the Tennessee Valley Authority. Huge public work programs and projects began with Dams, canals, irrigation and water transportation all being built. Farmers were given loans and were trained in soil conservation, whilst new housing was built. The area became revitalised and soon hydro-electric power was created by the thousands of men employed. Tennessee became the biggest provider of electricity in the whole of America. This helped with another one of Roosevelt's aims. He understood that the consumer boom depended on the middle class. He wanted to reduce the number of working class as well as the gap between the rich and the poor which did help cause the depression. By revitalising Tennessee he created a larger middle class for the future. This was also the reason why he introduced the Social Security Act. This was a form of insurance as it gave widows, the elderly, the unemployed and the disabled benefits and pensions. By doing this, poverty was reduced however it was only implemented as part of the second New Deal. In conclusion, the main reasons why Roosevelt introduced the New Deal were to deal with the depression. He wanted to improve the various aspects of America which had been caused by the depression, i.e. the increased poverty, homelessness, hunger etc by providing relief and to help America recover through reformation. He decided to regulate the stock market, whilst also bridging the gap between the rich and the poor as he understood that for the country to truly improve it would require a larger middle class and to do this ...read more.

Conclusion

Roosevelt did successfully manage to help the American economy recover and the reformation of capitalism also worked as another crash similar to that in 1929 hasn't occurred to this day. He did also succeed in many other things. For example, he provided aid in the form of pensions and benefits for the poor, widows, unemployed, disabled and the elderly etc and he completely revitalised and improved the Tennessee Valley area whilst also bridging the economic gap between the rich and the poor by distributing money more evenly. He even managed to improve many things compared to America during the boom. For example, he reduced the number of banks and businesses that failed to an all time low. However, it is not possible for us to say that he succeeded at everything. He failed to help everyone, with many parts of America receiving very little in the form of aid and he worsened the situation between workers and employers whilst also angering many wealthy business men. In my personal opinion, I feel that Roosevelt successes do easily outweigh his failures. He was extremely successful considering his own personal problems with polio. He did what he had to do to help America recover and improve unlike Hoover who simply waited for something to happen. He was genuinely popular as he seemed as if he actually wanted to help everyone. His regular fireside broadcasts and travels all across America showed his personal side, portrayed him a family man who cared. This restored a lot of confidence back into America, which we know was one of the causes of the boom. Whether or not people believe that Roosevelt succeeded, you couldn't fault him for his determination in times of pain and suffering which helped build the foundations for a better America. He has the record for spending the most terms in power and only forced to stop due to his health because of his popularity which I believe is the best way to reflect how successful he truly was. Ash Khan 11 Ma 1 ...read more.

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