Explain the main features of the New Deal

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Richard Teasell

The New Deal Coursework

Explain the main features of the New Deal

In 1932 Roosevelt came to power. He aimed to invest government money in making America prosperous again after the depression years of Hoover. Roosevelt’s main aims were to reduce unemployment and get Americans earning money again, to protect peoples savings, homes and livelihoods, to provide relief for the ill, the elderly and the unemployed and to get American industry and agriculture running once again.

In his first hundred days in charge in charge Roosevelt worked tirelessly to transform America, using new laws, acts and the full power of the government to steer America out of the depression. His first objective was to restore Americans confidence in their banks. On his first day Roosevelt ordered that all banks had to be closed and be checked by government officials. Four days later 5000 ‘trustworthy’ banks were allowed to reopen, some were even supported by government money. Roosevelt also introduced new rules and regulations to prevent another Wall Street crash from occurring. These measures were called the Emergency Banking Act and the Securities Exchange Commission. He spoke of the new regulations to Americans on the radio and he encouraged them to put their savings back into the backs, many followed his advice. These regular speeches became known as ‘fireside chats’.

One of Roosevelt next objectives was to help the poor. He tackled this problem by introducing the ‘Federal Emergency Relief Administration’. They spent $500million on soup kitchens, blankets, employment schemes and nursery schemes, which were all designed to help the poor.

High levels of unemployment were another problem Roosevelt intended to solve. He did this by setting up the (CCC) ‘Civilian Conservation Corps’, which was aimed at young unemployed men. Around 2.5million young men were helped by this scheme, which gave them work on environmental projects. Men signed on for periods of six months, which could be renewed if work could still not be found.   On 12th May 1933 the ‘Agricultural Adjustment Act’ was passed.   This set about solving the problems of farmers.   It took a long-term view and set quotas to reduce farm production so that prices would eventually increase.   The AAA also helped some farmers pay their mortgages and helped farmers modernize.   Unfortunately modernization meant that many farm labourers lost their jobs.

Another important act that was introduced during the 100 days was the ‘National Industry Recovery Act’ which set up two organisations: the (PWA) ‘Public Works Administration’ and the (NRA) ‘National Recovery Act’. The PWA used government money to create millions of jobs building roads, bridges, dams, schools and airports, which would be important once the US had recovered.   The NRA improved working conditions and banned child labour. It also set up a minimum wage and set out industries level of production. This helped the economy because it meant employees had money to spend. The scheme was voluntary and those companies who joined used the Blue Eagle as a symbol of government approval. More than 2 million employers joined the scheme.

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Another great success for the government was the ‘Tennessee Valley Authority’ (TVA). This was an organisation which went about improving the huge Tennessee Valley dustbowl. They did this by building dams along the river creating jobs, electricity and making it possible to irrigate the surrounding area. The TVA revitalised an area hard hit by the depression.

Despite all that he did people still felt that Roosevelt had not done enough whilst others felt that the New Deal was doing too much. The USA was recovering slowly and businesses were losing their enthusiasm for the NRA. Something had to ...

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