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How successfully did Roosevelt Solve the Problems of the US in the 1930s?

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How successfully did Roosevelt Solve the Problems of the US in the 1930s? Since its discovery in the Renaissance period America had always been seen as a land of dreams, it was prosperous and its inhabitants were happy, however in 1929 a catastrophic chain of events left it in depression, people starved and the country lost its status as a great super power. The depression was caused by a number of factors, the main trigger came in the October of 1929, when the Wall Street stock market crashed, millions of dollars were lost and suddenly many faced poverty, however looking back, with the benefit of hindsight it is possible to see that the crash was inevitable. In the years leading to the crash, there had been great prosperity, during the "boom" of the 1920s, the then republican government of America had taken a laissez-faire attitude towards business and had not intervened, hoping that the companies knew what they were doing. The little cant taken by the republicans when it came to the economy seemed acceptable but when economic collapse began their schemes ended up crippling companies more. In the early 20s tariffs had been introduced on foreign goods, in the hope that American companies would be able to prosper, this meant that when America was desperate to trade to make money, the goods were not bought, because other countries had copied the idea. Because the government did not take an active role in industry, it was important for companies to look after themselves, to make this easier trusts were created, these were huge corporations that dominated industry, people thought that the trusts would act responsibly and would be ...read more.


However the most important scheme for the countryside was the Tennessee Valley Authority, this area had become a huge 'dust-bowl' the land could be used and many of the inhabitants lived in poverty without electricity or any form of regular income. The Authority saw that numerous dams were built, these would irrigate the land, provide jobs and also give a source of electrify, this scheme was the most ambitious and many questioned whether it would be a success or failure. The last act to be passed during the hundred days was the National Industrial Recovery Act, this revolutionized American industry, in the years of the depression, America's Gross National Product had reached an all time low and there had been a huge rise in the number of business and back failures, it was hoped that the NIRA would stimulate the economy, improve morale and help industry get back on its feet. By the June of 1933, it seemed that America's problems had been solved and that prosperity was just around the corner, however people criticized and said that not enough was being done to help America's society and economy. Such critics were Huey Long, Francis Townsend and Father Coughlin, all agreed that the New Deal was not doing enough to help black people and wasn't providing enough security to those who need it, such as the elderly. Roosevelt's schemes had helped 200,000 black Americans; they were employed and were able to leave the slums, however for many, life did not change at all as they were still viewed as second-class citizens. ...read more.


This recession was not nearly as serious as the crash however it was enough to shake investors and undermined the New Deal as people saw how close financial ruin was. It is true to say that in the years of the New Deal consumer confidence increased, however when comparing the figures to that of pre-1929, it is clear that confidence had not been fully restored, this showed that though people were glad to see change they had qualms and were still nervous about the USA, this means that one of the major problems facing Roosevelt had not been solved. When trying to analyse the success of Roosevelt and the New Deal it is important to be objective and to think both comparatively and relatively, at this one can see that the successes of the New Deal were hugely variable, some aspects such as the TVA were a great success, however the major issues of American society such as race and poverty had not been addressed or eased. However Franklin D Roosevelt is still know today as one of the greatest presidents of all time, because he created hope in a time of depression and his actions meant that in future years radical changes could be made and excepted by Americans because confidence was slowly rising and people had seen change. So in conclusion, Roosevelt was not wholly successful in solving the all of the problems of the US in the 1930s, but he had the support of the people and his dramatic actions created so much hype and momentum that in the end the American people were able to find a way out of their own personal depression. Kate Rintoul 1 ...read more.

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