When President Roosevelt came into office he had promised to work the three R’s, which were the aims of the New Deal, they were Relief, Recovery and Reform. In order to gain relief Roosevelt had to tackle the problems of poverty and unemployment. Recovery meant that America had to get all its unemployed back to work, and American life needed a boost to stop factories, mines, trucks, trains and farms from standing unoccupied. Reform meant that Americans had to change the way they ran their country to make sure the depression never happened again.
The aims were relief, reform and recovery and in order to achieve these Roosevelt set up “Alphabet Agencies”, these were agencies that were set up to fight the depression and help people that were affected badly by the depression. Roosevelt persuaded the Congress to provide money for public works project and to set up a programme to provide young people work. The CCC or the Civilian Conservation Corps was set up to provide work for young men as well as improve the country’s natural resources.
Young men between 18 and 25 were employed to do conservation work in the countryside. The work included things like tree planting, stopping soil erosion, strengthening riverbanks and cutting fire breaks in forests. The CCC was run by the army they also ran the camps that the men lived in, by early summer 1933 about 1,300 CCC camps had been set up and the jobs were done for pocket money of a dollar a day. The CCC had employed 250,000 young Americans by august 1933 and by 1941 2. million people had taken part.
After leaving the CCC many of the participants had found work. As for the nature side, millions of trees were planted, reservoirs, forest roads, fire lookouts and canals were built. The CCC was one of the agencies that were a definite success without any failures or criticisms, it provided work as well as improving the country. Another factor or agency that showed success was the TVA or the Tennessee Valley Authority. This was the most ambitious plan put forward by Roosevelt.
The TVA built 16 dams in and around Tennessee Valley, which was struck by poverty, and were also responsible for erosion control, the generation and sale of electric power and the manufacture and distribution of fertiliser. This was again a successful agency as the dams solved the flood problem, the TVA supplied cheap electricity for the region and farming flourished. The TVA covered seven states and affected 7 million people. This agency again had no failures or criticisms and was very successful.
These two were the only agencies that were successful without people questioning them. The AAA or the Agricultural Adjustment Administration was set up to help farmers increase their profits. The AAA introduced schemes of work to help farmers reduce their production, which would make the prices of their products higher. The government also paid farmers money to destroy crops and slaughter animals. The AAA was a success in a way that over production had ended and prices rose but there was still a great deal of failures and criticisms.
The government was criticized for paying farmers to produce and slaughter their animals. Even though many of the farmers were helped life was made worse for farm workers, many of which were black, so as soon as the farmers reduced their production this meant they had no jobs which led to them looking for work in other parts of the country. Another agency that showed more failure than success was the FERA or the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, which was set up to give money to states to help unemployed and homeless people.
The Congress agreed to set up a FERA they had $500 million to give to the hungry and homeless so, for every three dollars the government spent on unemployed and homeless people they got one dollar in return. The success of this agency was that they gave help to people in need but even though this was helping, the government wanted to stop this as soon as possible and go onto the provision of paid work rather than hand outs which is why the CWA and the WPA were set up.
Although the New Deal had its failures it also had its success’ and the TVA is proof of that. The New Deal brought millions of Americans employment. Many Americans were better off at the end of 1938 than they were in 1932. Although Roosevelt was criticized he made America a better place than it was in the depression and gave people faith. The New Deal was not all successful, by 1937 unemployment started to rise again and nothing new was set up to help this. Slowly Roosevelt began to concentrate on other issues so the New Deal was nothing but a memory.