My essay is about the New Deal, its main features, why Roosevelt introduced it and most importantly the successes and failures of it. The New Deal was a set of laws and characteristics set up by Franklin D Roosevelt president of the USA from 1933- 1945. Part of Roosevelt’s campaign was the idea of the New Deal. It had never been heard of before. The New Deal consisted of recovery agencies many had long names and therefore became known by their initials. In all, the New Deal created 59 “alphabet agencies” that undoubtedly helped to get America out of the depression.
In the first 100 days of the New Deal Roosevelt focused on restoring confidence in banks and the setting up of the Alphabet agencies. Also he had what was known as ‘Fireside Chats’ appearing on radio and encouraging Americans to put there money back into banks which many did. Roosevelt also ended prohibition. One of the alphabet agencies Roosevelt set up was an independent organisation called the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The main focus of the TVA was to build a series if dams on the Tennessee River. These transformed the regions because the dams made it possible to irrigate dried out lands.
Also building the dams created thousands of jobs in an area that was badly hit by the depression. Also it was an important organisation because it showed how national and state government could together. During the second New Deal (1936-40) the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which was set up to bring together existing organisations with the aim of co-ordinating work projects and creating work. Also during the second New Deal the Wagner Act was introduced which gave Trade Union Rights to the workers for the first time, for example better pay and hours.
One of the main features of the New Deal was the NIRA which set up two important organisations the PWA, which used government money to build schools. Roads, dams, bridges and airports. These would be vital while America was recovering and in the short term they created millions of jobs. In the long term those constructions still benefit people today. The second was the NRA which improved working conditions in industry and outlawed child labour. It was voluntary but over two million people joined the scheme and eventually with union rights things improved.
The New Deal was very democratic; it was done for the majority of the people and a major reason why Roosevelt introduced it was to create a fairer society. Roosevelt also introduced the New Deal because firstly he mentioned it in his campaign and that was one the main features of why he got elected because ironically he promised Americans a ‘New Deal!! ‘ whereas Hoover had done very little. He also thought that introducing it would put Americans back onto their feet and help rescue some of the problems of the Depression.
Roosevelt knew the New Deal was important because it would put money into the economy, create employment and increase and improve trade. He knew that introducing the New Deal would give Americans back there pride and restore there confidence. Roosevelt believed in creating a fair and just society, full of opportunity for all Americans, not just the rich. Introducing the New Deal gave a new lease of life to many Americans, some thought things could never change during the depression but somehow Roosevelt knew different.
Another factor of why Roosevelt introduced the New Deal was that he believed if people were employed by some of the many alphabet agencies then they would spend more money and re-stimulate the economy, they were not bothered with what the job was just as long as it was paid work. I agree with that statement because in my opinion the New Deal was not a complete success Roosevelt faced many criticisms because although most American people benefited from the New Deal many did not such as some
Workers, Farm Labourers unskilled workers, migrants and especially black people. It was a very hard time for black people, Native Americans and migrants who suffered severe racism. Roosevelt’s wage code made it possible for employers to pay white people more which did not help the situation of racism. In the first 100 days of the New Deal and throughout the year everything seemed good for the unemployed as rates of unemployment were decreasing, but by the 1930’s it started to increase and again many Americans were jobless.
For a while Roosevelt reduced the money for the New Deal which did not help the unemployed and left even more without jobs. During 1937 Roosevelt got over confident and tried to appoint new judges for the Supreme Court as the current judges were against some of his laws. In the end Roosevelt backed down because he faced severe opposition and public opinion was against him. More opposition again came from the Supreme Court who were mostly Republicans. Republicans believed that governments should not use tax payer’s money to help the poor and unemployed or interfere with the economy.
The enforcement of Trade Unions and taxation annoyed Business People and Industrialist because they felt workers were given a voice and therefore more power which was not good for them. Other opposition came from the States’ Right Supporters who had similar beliefs as the Republicans. They believed that the Federal Government should not get involved in affairs of the State, after all to them it was seen as intrusion by the Federal Government as they had no right to tell the state Government how to deal with the depression.
Saying all this there were successes of the New Deal such as the Social Security Act which was introduced during the Second New Deal it included unemployment and sickness benefits and welfare policies e. g. health, medicine and education policies which are all in use today. Other long term effects were the New Deal changed peoples philosophy (the way they thought) and helped Americans look into the future. There were many short term effects like some of the alphabet agencies, people got jobs home’s were improved, America were given a new start.
Roosevelt had said that his influence and the New Deal had helped end the depression. But in fact Roosevelt did not end the depression it was only when the federal government imposed rationing, recruited 6 million defence workers (including women and African Americans) and drafted 6 million soldiers. Also World War 2 played a great part in ending the depression because in 1941 America joined the War which meant that the men joined the army and therefore were employed. As they were all off to join the army there were more jobs back in America for others.
The War helped increase trade and in 1939 Americans started to trade guns, clothing and food with Europe which helped boost the economy and helped America further out of Depression if not completely ending it. Throughout my essay I have mentioned all of the strengths and weaknesses of the New Deal and I have come to the conclusion that it was not a complete success. Because either way it cannot be a complete failure or a complete success over all there is a balanced argument.