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Which of these two sources is the more useful to a historian studying the success of the New Deal?

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Introduction

History Coursework 1. Source A was written by someone who worked closely with Roosevelt. Source B is a set of United States government statistics. Which of these two sources is the more useful to a historian studying the success of the New Deal? Source A is an extract from the memoirs of David Coyle, a friend and adviser of Roosevelt. He was part of a group of young graduate students that formed the 'think-tank' that Roosevelt used for advice on the New Deal. It describes how Roosevelt's personality was his key to success; he was unafraid to try different tactics to defeat the depression and also how he was "willing to experiment" in national development and it was this courage to try anything to help others that persuaded people to vote for him. Source B is a set of official statistics on unemployment and Federal Government spending in the United States. It is a primary source and shows government expenditure and the number of unemployed in the years from 1930 to 1940, and how spending increased marginally up until 1933 when Hoover was beaten in the election and Roosevelt gained office. This rise is due to Hoover's realisation that the depression would not sort itself out as he had hoped and so he began to invest money in a 'too-little, too-late' attempt at rebuilding the broken economy. ...read more.

Middle

By helping the poorest people, Roosevelt hoped to stop the depression at its roots - allowing the many millions of people who would normally have been the base of the economy to pay taxes and buy products again; thereby kick-starting the economy back into life. Source D on the other hand, is written from the developed perspective of someone who was suffering little from the depression, and saw only that the money being used was being squandered away with little or no effects. The sources differ as they are written from completely different points of view - the poor stood to benefit the most and therefore supported the New Deal, whereas the wealthy did not benefit and felt that nothing was being done to help them. 3. Source E gives the views of only one person. Does this mean that it is unreliable as evidence about the extent to which the New Deal succeeded? Source E is a quote from Lewis Andreas, a Chicago doctor, who was interviewed about his thoughts on the New Deal in 1970. It explains how Roosevelt did not have a lot to offer the American people, although he helped the economy from stagnating completely by doing what little he could in the few terms he was in power. ...read more.

Conclusion

His enthusiasm to help others was inspiring and at the same time surprising since his opposition was usually intense (source C and D). Roosevelt did not receive support from all areas of society, and near the end of his Presidency, his temporary plans were beginning to fail and show signs of weakness (source D and E). In a sense, Roosevelt could have gone further with his New Deal, yet as many other events prove, just throwing money at a problem will not fix it (source G). Sources A to G are all useful for assessing the success of the New Deal. They cover many different perspectives on the same subject yet have very different content. This alone makes them valuable in the assessment of the New Deal. Individually, each source is useful, yet on the whole they produce a rounded picture of the New Deal. This ability to analyse and evaluate many different pieces of historical evidence and draw conclusions from them is critical in learning from the past. In the same way, the both the individual and the general aspects of each source are beneficial in analysing the New Deal. I believe that as a plan, the New Deal was successful. Roosevelt accomplished his goals - lowering unemployment, and recovery of the economy. It was not as good as it could have been, although many other outcomes could have been much worse. ...read more.

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