The New Deal & FDR The implementation of the New Deal was a necessary, yet highly criticized, and controversial time in our nation’s history. Its creation, by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, helped to resurrect a crumbling economy and put Americans back to work. However, like most things in life, there are always two sides to every story. This paper will explore both the pros and cons of FDR’s, brainchild, the New Deal. In addition, it will argue that regardless of a positive or negative public opinion, there is no negating the fact that the New Deal was a pivotal movement and progressive step forward in our nation’s history.
The presidential election of 1932 favored Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt over current president, Herbert Hoover, by a staggering 7 million popular votes. It seemed that the citizens of the great United States of America had spoken; they were ready for change. FDR believed that the solution to the economic crisis could be achievable, but only by having a more involved government. He held firm that giving the federal government more control in the nation’s economy could begin to undo the damage caused by the Great Depression.
Roosevelt promised a New Deal to the American public; a conglomerate of government programs aimed at revitalizing the economy by restoring our banking system and creating new jobs. Almost immediately following his inauguration, FDR closed down all the banks in the country for four days and called an emergency hearing with Congress. The Emergency Banking Act was created, which “gave the government the opportunity to inspect the health of all banks” (Franklin D. Roosevelt – American Heritage Center, Inc. ).
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, was also created to insure consumer and business deposits up to $5,000 (a far cry from today’s $250,000). FDR, urged Americans to trust in banks again. Ultimately, he wanted to see people embrace the concept of consumer capitalism. In short, he called for every citizen to march to their local bank, and show good faith by depositing all their life savings. Once the banks had the support of the public, they could in turn, begin making loans again. These loans funded the creation of new businesses and the restoration of the old ones.
Businesses were then able to hire or re-hire workers, and in many cases, increase wages as well. With higher wages comes greater spending power. The goal was to see the population of the U. S. become a nation of consumers once again. By pouring their money and capital back into the economy, U. S. citizens could play a role in getting American back on her feet. A provision of the New Deal, called the Civil Works Administration, or CWA, was created to “give the unemployed jobs building or repairing roads, parks and airports and providing psychological and physical boosts to its 4 million workers” (Franklin D.
Roosevelt -American Heritage Center, Inc. ). A similar program, called the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, was an environmental program that helped 2. 5 million unmarried men return to work maintaining beaches and forests and also gave jobs to 8500 women. Other successful programs that are relevant to today’s modern society are programs such as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, or Wagner Act; which protects workers’ rights to assemble, or unionize.
In addition, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was passed, which abolished child labor and set the minimum wage. While the New Deal had a great many triumphs, some may argue that though the tragedies were few, they had a far more devastating impact on the economy. Roosevelt implemented such controversial programs as the National Industrial Recovery Act, or NIRA, which was created to bolster the decreasing price of industrial goods. Unfortunately, there were some unforeseen and catastrophic consequences. When higher wages went into effect, prices rose too. Thus, consumers stopped buying. The continuous cycle of overproduction and underconsumption put businesses back into a slump” the law was later ruled unconstitutional (Norton et al, 698). Another controversial provision of the New Deal was the Agriculture Adjustment Administration, or AAA, which attempted to raise farm prices. It used special tax funds to pay farmers to refrain from raising certain crops or breed certain types of animals.
They figured the lower production would help to increase prices of other agricultural products. All it did was anger the general populous, who thought this was atrocious. People were starving and homeless and the federal government was essentially wasting food! This program was ruled unconstitutional, shortly after it was proved a failure. Though Roosevelt had many ups and downs during his 12+ years as President, he successfully began the process of getting the nation back on its feet.
He created the New Deal, though it was not the end all be all of the economic crisis, it contributed to the demise of the Great Depression in a broader sense. It restored the public faith in banks and got many, many Americans back to work. Works Cited Norton, M. , Katzman, D. , Blight, D. , Chudacoff, H. , Logevall, F. , Bailey, B. , Paterson, T. , Tuttle Jr. , W. A People and a Nation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2007. Print. Franklin D. Roosevelt – American Heritage Center, Inc. http://www. fdrheritage. org/new_deal. html 26, October 2012. Web.
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