History coursework: Was the New Deal successful?

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History coursework: Was the New Deal successful?

Source A is part of a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his campaign for the Presidency of America in 1932. Back then America, which had previously enjoyed an economic boom of prosperity, was gripped in the devastating Depression, a collapse of the economy.

The President at the time, Herbert Hoover, was a Republican, and Republicans believed in a 'laissez-faire' policy. This meant that the Republicans would not interfere in industry or business, as he believed that non-interference brought prosperity. Therefore, he did little for welfare and relief to the poor and unemployed. Roosevelt however, promised action in the shape of 'a New Deal for the American people'. This included jobs and relief to the needy. The speech shows Roosevelt's determination to nullify the effects of the Depression with his New Deal. At such desperate times, the American people would accept anything promised to them, so they backed Roosevelt rather than the 'do-nothing' President Hoover.


The two sources B and C offer contrasting judgments on the New Deal. Source B was by an American historian in 1945. It states that 3 million young Americans were involved in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an organization that gave work to people through building dams and replanting forests, for example. Also, he introduced unemployment assistance and old-age pensions, and banned child labour. However, source C, also by an American historian in 1945, says that despite the New Deal, 11 million were unemployed and one in four relied on government agencies like the CCC for employment.

Source C also suggests that Roosevelt's increasing power could only lead to a dictatorial government. Source B rejects this claim, claiming that power still lies in the hands of the American people, who can choose to vote out governments they dislike.

Source B says that the New Deal restored confidence. It says the people would remember the change from despair to hope in spring 1933. Source C mentions a different attitude; that Roosevelt's reputation was falling in 1938, as 11 million remained unemployed, the national debt rocketed and taxes increased. 

Source C implies that it was the Second World War that saved the country and not the New Deal, which source B maintains. Source C portrays Roosevelt as desperate, whereas in source B Roosevelt gave excitement and hope to the people through the New Deal.


Source D is by a photographer in 1937. It shows black people queuing for government relief in front of a poster, which says: 'World's Highest Standard of Living' and 'There's No Way like the American Way'. The poster depicts a rich white family in a car. The picture shows that black people were more likely to be unemployed and poorer than the whites. The contrast shown here in the photo shows how much worse off black people are than whites. The Depression made more blacks unemployed than whites, particularly in farming. I think the message the photographer wants to convey the message that the 'World's Highest Standard of Living' only applies to whites, while the blacks ask for government relief.

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Source E is a cartoon in a 1930s American newspaper. It shows Roosevelt trying to prime the New Deal pump with buckets of water that represents money. The pump has lots of leaks and doesn't work, and $16 billion has already been spent on the pump. A man representing the taxpayer is bringing Roosevelt more water. The cartoon says that the New Deal isn't working, but is wasting money. The taxpayer has to pay for the New Deal unnecessarily. This cartoon is therefore against Roosevelt.

Source F is a cartoon published in 1933 and it shows Roosevelt 'getting ...

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