In 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt set about sorting out America’s problems with his theory ‘The New Deal’. Firstly he decided on a period of ‘Relief’ where he went to sort out the problems of the Wall Street crash. This period lasted from 1933-1935. The next period was the period of ‘Reform’ where he set about making it impossible for something like the Wall Street crash happening again. This period lasted from 1935-1939.
His new deal had several aims: Getting Americans back to work, Protecting their savings and property, Providing relief for the sick, old and unemployed, Getting American industry and agriculture back on their feet, Restore confidence and faith, Recognise the use of natural resources, Distribute people across the country and finally Provide a better use of the land. To combat these aims he came up with laws, which are now called the alphabet laws. To combat the first aim, Getting Americans back to work, he came up with 3 laws.
These were the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), the PWA (Public Works Administration), WPA (Works Progress Administration) and finally the CWA (Civil Works Administrations). The CCC and the PWA were both passed during the period of Relief while the WPA was passed during the period of Reform and so was brought in to combat these earlier problems. The CCC was concerned with protecting the environment. It provided work for two million young people who dug reservoirs, planted trees and re-stocked lakes with a billion fish. The PWA employed four million skilled workers.
They built 75% of new schools and 35% of new hospitals. The WPA tried to provide jobs in cultural area and set up the FTP-Federal Theatre Project, FAP-Federal Art Project and FWP-Federal Writers Project. The CWA was formed after the FERA changed its name. They spent 500 million dollars on public work schemes e. g. Airports and Nursery Schools were built. To combat the second aim, Protecting their (Americans) savings and property, he came up with 4 laws. These were the EBA (Emergency Banking Act), EA (Economy Act), AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Act) and the RA.
All of these were brought in during the period of Relief. The EBA meant that FDR closed all banks for four days and only reliable banks reopened. The export of Gold was banned to limit inflation. These measures helped restore faith in the Dollar. The EA only cut the salaries of civil servants by 15%. The RA helped poor farmers by purchasing equipment for them and resettled some of the poorest ones on land bought by the RA. Grants were given to farmers for soil conservation schemes. To combat the third aim, Providing relief for the sick, old and unemployed, he passed two laws.
These were the FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) and the SSA (Social Security Act). The FERA was passed during the period of Relief and The SSA was passed during the period of reform. The FERA was organised by Harry Hopkins. FERA introduced supplementary benefit for the unemployed. For every three dollars spent by a state, one federal dollar was given to help the unemployed. Francis Perkins, The minister of labour and also the first woman in the cabinet, introduced the SSA in 1935.
The act said: Federal Unemployment Benefit would be given for the first time (FERA only gave supplementary benefit), Some workers were to gain retirement pensions in 1940, aid was given to the blind, the crippled and the pregnant. To combat the fourth aim he introduced 4 laws. These were the AAA, EBA, RFC (Reconstruction Finance Corporation) and the SMA (Surplus Marketing Administration). The AAA, EBA and RFC were all introduced during the period of relief but the SMA was introduced during the period of reform.
The RFC was originally set up in 1931 under Hoover but FDR changed it so that small companies could easily gain bank loans. The SMA was where FDR tried to over come the problems of the AAA by buying excess food. To combat the fifth aim, Restore Faith and Confidence, FDR introduced two laws already discussed in this essay. These were the EBA and the RA, which were both introduced during the period of relief. To combat the sixth aim, Recognise the use of natural resources, FDR introduced 2 laws. These were the CCC and the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). These were also both introduced during the period of relief.
Senator Norris set up the TVA in 1933. This was probably the most successful of all the New Deal schemes. The River Tennessee is 652 miles long and passes through seven states, and was liable to flood in spring and dry up in the summer. To stop this, existing dams were improved and 20 new ones built. To combat both the seventh and eighth aims, Distribute people across the country and Provide a better use of the land, FDR introduce only one law, which was the AAA. The AAA’s aim was to combat over-production in agriculture. The AAA said that ‘Farmers should not be evicted for rent failure’.
FDR set up the Farm Credit Administration to help farmers pay their mortgages. The AAA also said that farmers should change from growing wheat and cotton to producing other basic foodstuffs. Most of these were passed during the period of relief and not the period of reform. I think this shows that the main features of the New Deal were the ones, which combated his aims or the New Deals aims. This means that the main features of the New Deal were mainly created during the period of relief and I believe that the amount of laws he brought in were adequate to combat The New Deals aims.