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Roosevelt's New Deal

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Introduction

Was Roosevelt's New Deal a Success? During his election campaign Roosevelt promised the American people a New Deal. Although it was unclear exactly what Roosevelt planned to do, it was apparent that he planned to use the full power of the US government to pull the country out of depression. Roosevelt set out the following statements of the New Deal: * Getting Americans back to work * Protecting their property and their savings * Reviving American industry and agriculture * Providing aid for the old, sick and unemployed In the first 100 days of his presidency in 1933, Roosevelt worked incredibly hard day in, day out, with his advisers, and began to put change into action. The main problem affecting America was its loss of confidence in the banks. Roosevelt addressed this crisis first. He ordered for all of Americas' banks to be closed. He then had government officials check them over thoroughly, and a few days later 5000 trustworthy banks were allowed to re-open. If necessary, they were even supported by government funding. To collaborate with this, Roosevelt's advisors came up with a set of rules and regulations to prevent the wild speculation which had been a cause of the Wall Street Crash. These two measures (the Emergency Banking Act and the Securities Exchange Commission) ...read more.

Middle

Encouragingly, over two million employers joined the scheme. One of Roosevelt's even more drastic schemes was the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), which built a series of dams on the Tennessee River (which would flood badly in wet seasons, and dry to a trickle in dry). These dams made it possible to irrigate the dried out lands and provided electricity for under-developed areas. They also created thousands of jobs. In the Hundred Days Roosevelt's measures did have immediate effect and restored confidence in the government. The morale of the USA was boosted. However, problems soon occurred. Because of the initial urgency of the situation, Roosevelt got all his early measures through Congress speedily, but before long the New Deal was faced with opposition and criticism. Conservative forces claimed that the NIRA was unconstitutional and had not been met with the proper authority. Meanwhile, radicals like Huey Long complained that despite these measures the poor were still suffering greatly. Long, a Democratic senator and Governor of Louisiana, called for greater taxation of the rich and the confiscation of all fortunes worth over $5 million. He came up with the "Share Our Wealth" scheme which provides every family in the USA $6000 to spend. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, he was still very popular with ordinary Americans, and rightly so. He was elected again with a big majority in 1940, although tbe USA was not as united behind his New Deal as it had been seven years earlier. Although Roosevelt was inconsistent and changed his mind a lot on policies, the New Deal stopped the Depression from worsening. It also helped farmers and home owners to stay in their homes. Unfortunately, big businesses still remained too powerful, despite Roosevelt challenging them. The New Deal did introduce social security for American citizens, and provided many roads, schools dams etc as a basis for future prosperity. It did fail to help the poorest in America much - the measures were just not large enough to do so. Blacks, migrant and unskilled workers and farm labourers were not helped, but actually hindered by the New Deal. Despite effort, unemployment remained high throughout the 1930's. However, the New Deal gave hope and confidence to the American people at the worst time in their history and 'saved' American democracy. Many of Roosevelt's experiments were failures, but it would be foolish to think they could all work, and many of them did. He deserves to be admired for his persistency and openness to new and untried methods, and his dedication to saving his country, which never wavered. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ruby Lawrence ...read more.

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