The New Deal – Reforming to Preserve

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The New Deal - Reforming to Preserve

"To preserve we have to reform." This sums up the proposal of the new deal. When Roosevelt took the presidential oath, the banking and credit system was in a state of paralysis. Roosevelt, who in 1932 had beaten Hoover in a landslide presidential triumph, launched an agenda of legislation. This presented the government with a central role in coping with the depression effects. Colossal amounts of public money were spent and most Americans supported this. By 1933, millions of Americans were out of work. Bread lines were a common sight in most cities. Hundreds of thousands roamed the country in seek of food, work and shelter. "Brother, can you spare a dime?" Went the catchphrase of a popular song.

In 1933, the new president, Franklin Roosevelt, brought an air of confidence and optimism that quickly rallied the people to the banner of his program, known as the New Deal. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," the president declared in his introductory address to the nation. The great depression had a considerable impact on the banking system in America. Within a few years, a fifth of all banks were closed. Around 15% of peoples money was lost. The dilemma was people lost all loyalty in the banking system and hid all their money at home. The day subsequent to Roosevelt taking office, he ordered all banks to close for four days. He then intensely searched every bank; if they didn't have enough capital behind them they were closed down.

After 1933 the character of Roosevelt's reform changed from relief to recovery. Roosevelt's subsequently manufactured an additional economy act. This tried to cut back on government spending, so that it could be used to help the unemployed. Many "Alphabet agencies" were set up. The CWA or Boondoggles, these were a dollar a day jobs such as scaring away pigeons. However not all the CWA work was pointless, they built roads, enhanced schools and manufactured public toilets. Many prosperous people criticised these jobs, as they had no increase effects on the economy. Created by Harry Hopkins, " It restores a man's moral" But of course it did keep a man from the dole or getting fed up at home. The PWA set up by Harold Ickes, produced money for clothes and food. It was triumphant but criticised for expenditure at a time of a cash drought. In 1932 the government had a dept of $2.7 billion in 1936 there was a $4.4 billion dept. The PWA, unlike the CWA took care with the government's money. All the PWA work helped the economy. They built 70% of schools, 4 river dams and 50 military airports; these are just a few of thousands of worthwhile projects. The only trouble was that the PWA only provided work for the skilled and able-bodied workers. Harry Hopkins also built the WPA similar to the CWA; all of the agencies the CWA, PWA and WPA gave money for food and clothes.
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After the great Depression the farmers were worst off. The crop prices had fallen to worthless. By 1933 one in twenty farmers had been evicted from their land. On 12th May, the AAA or Agricultural Adjustment Administration was formed. The aim of the organization was to enhance farmer's profits by monitoring the crop harvesting. $100 million was split between thousands of farmers. The AAA had at its core, a plan to raise crop prices by paying farmers a subsidy to compensate for voluntary cutbacks in production. All the meat and crops bought by the AAA were given to ...

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