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How successful was the First New Deal in tackling the economic and social problems of the USA?

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FDR defeated Hoover in the 1932 election with an astounding percentage of the popular vote. Upon becoming President at his inauguration in March 1933, FDR was faced with tackling the worst depression in American History, which had propelled 15 million citizens into unemployment, and even those who were employed were suffering due to weekly wages being so low it became a struggle to survive. The thousands of Investors in banks lost all of their hard earned savings because of the banks closing down at a rate of 40 per day. Also, global trade had come to a standstill, and in a simple act of retaliation to high American tariffs, international traders placed high tariffs on American goods which meant there was no market for the goods abroad. Despite FDR being faced with these terrible facts, at his inauguration in March 1933, FDR stated, "Our greatest primary task is to put people to work"1. Hoover had allowed the Depression to spin out of control, and demonstrated his helplessness, as no new measures were introduced to help combat it in the 'Lame Duck' months. In 1933, the American public took a desperate chance on FDR and his,"...New Deal for the American people2", despite many not understanding what this new 'proposal' was. The intended goal of the New Deal was to create 'relief, recovery and reform' for the devastated American economy, and was intended to create and carry out specific measures in response to the masses of problems felt by the nation. ...read more.


Through it public work schemes were set up work for young unemployed men, and believed this would stimulate economic growth. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), was seen as one of the great symbols of the New Deal, it left a legacy of outdoor recreational areas, and Young men sent home $25 of their $30 a month to their families. During its 10 years the CCC provided jobs for 3 million young men. Despite these simple achievements, slight failures became evident as employment in the CCC was short-term, as the average length of employment was just 6 months, which confirms that the CCC was no guarantee to prevent men from returning to the ranks of those on relief when it was over. It was seen as an opportunity for young white men, and seemed to leave the deprived ethnic minorities trapped in poverty. FDR was supposedly taken by the whole idea, and according to Frances Perkins, 'exaggerated its benefits'. A further temporary scheme was the Civil Works Administration's (CWA) main task was to primarily provide emergency relief to the unemployed through the hard winter of 1933-34. This it did, as it soon employed over 4 million people were put to work on public works projects. Nevertheless, this system was disbanded after the winter, and once again the 4 million workers were without work. One successful viewpoint by many is that it helped many people survive winter, which they might not have otherwise. ...read more.


Doug/Susan Willoughby stated, "there is considerable evidence to suggest that the TVA was one of the most successful agencies of the New Deal". Despite it upsetting many people in the USA; they complained that a government agency should not compete with private companies in the production and distribution of electric power. They became bitter as the unit cost of TVA power became cheaper than that of the private companies. In conclusion, despite all of the guarantees promised in his election campaigns of 1932 and the 'First Hundred days' of his office, FDR mainly failed to help the 'forgotten man'. Many of the public at some point referred to FRD as their 'friend in the Whitehouse', this was because of FDR's psychological effect on the population of the USA, with his New Deal, which gave all citizens a motive to have hope for the future, Clements describes how, "FDR, with his silver tongue brought hope"8. 1 Prosperity, Depression & the New Deal - Clements 2 Prosperity, Depression & the New Deal - Clements 3 Prosperity, Depression & the New Deal - Clements 4 Prosperity, Depression & the New Deal - Clements 5 FDR - The New Deal & War - Heale 6 FDR - The New Deal & War - Heale 7 The USA 1917-1945 Doug/Susan Willoughby 8 Prosperity, Depression & the New Deal - Clements ?? ?? ?? ?? How successful was the First New Deal in tackling the economic and social problems of the USA? ...read more.

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