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What are the strengths and weaknesses of Source A as an interpretation of the role of Roosevelt in the New Deal?

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Introduction

History Coursework - Assignment 2: Model A2: The United States 1919 - 1941 Q1) What are the strengths and weaknesses of Source A as an interpretation of the role of Roosevelt in the New Deal? Source A mainly focuses on Roosevelts popularity. The first paragraph is not evidence at all; it is the authors view on what he believes Roosevelts goals and positive attributes were. A weakness of Source A is that it is too favourable towards Roosevelt. We can see that it is an american textbook, probably aimed as a school textbook. It is understandable that the author attempts to portray Roosevelt as an honest, caring and simple man, as it was and still is widely believed that Roosevelts actions benefitted America in the long term. It is also very vague about details; it mentions Roosevelts fireside chats, and his unusual attention to the massive amount of mail send to the whitehouse, which I know was true through my own knowledge, but it is all written very generalised. Its lack of detail makes it seem more of a biography of Roosevelt than a textbook on America in the Twentieth Century. ...read more.

Middle

From the figures we can clearly see it is a very cynical joke about the current state of employment in the USA. The company that had it printed was obviously unhappy with Roosevelt and the New Deal, suggesting that he is enjoying himself and not taking USAs situation seriously whilst the rest of USA is in turmoil. The sources goal is clearly to criticise the president and his policies, with propaganda cleverly made to initially look like statistical figures. However, it is a useful source to historians studying the impact of the New Deal on the USA, as it shows us what the american companies felt about it, and the level of opposition against Roosevelt. Businesses all around America would probably have felt a similiar way, since the common goal of employment is the same in every business. Source F also indicates that the reforms introduced were not working. Many people thought that the New Deal was taking away the USAs individualism. Both sources are useful in their own seperate ways. Source E shows us that America's unemployment steadily reduced since the New Deal, suggesting that it was successful in the short term at the least. ...read more.

Conclusion

There was a lot of opposition from the right wing, who accused Roosevelt of "betraying his own class". Even the Left wing criticised him, and black people claimed that he had done nothing for them. Two of Roosevelts organisations; the NRA and AAA were declared unconstitutional and illegal by the Supreme Court. At first, Roosevelt proposed appointing new judges, but so many Americans resented this idea that he didn't pursue the idea further. These were the lengths to which he had gone. But all this, did not seem bold enough. By 1939 there were still over 9 million workers unemployed. Source E illustrates the renewed depression, as unemployment rises by nearly 5% from 1937 to 1938. It was the war that brought America back up, and Roosevelt spent billions on re-armament and war-related production, ironically far more than he had ever spent on the new deal. As the UK and other European countries became dependant on the USA for food or other financial help, America simply grew stronger, with all the new jobs created due to the war, the economy was back up again. But this was not really through Roosevelts boldness. ...read more.

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