New Deal America Essay

This essay has a total of 1034 words and 4 pages.

New Deal America

The stock market crash of 1929 helped launch the United States and many other nations into
the worst economic depression in history. The severity of the Great Depression called for
federal government programs to protect the general welfare of citizens. The New Deal
programs created by Franklin D. Roosevelt provided the framework for the welfare state
that still serves as a basis for American public policy. All aspects of American society
suffered during the Great Depression. By 1932, there were thirteen million people
unemployed. There was no security for the millions who lost all of their savings in the
bank failure or stock market crash. Volunteer organizations attempted to help the needy,
but their resources were simply not adequate (Madaras and SoRelle 218). Hope seemed
non-existent. Americans had never seen such a severe depression. They could not look to
history for guidance. The New Deal was Roosevelt's attempt to restore the economy. His
willingness to act decisively and experiment with new policies set him apart from previous
presidents. He often said, "I have no expectation of making a hit every time I come to
bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average"(Tindall and Shi 1238). In the
first years of Roosevelt's term he worked hard to empower the federal branch. The New Deal
set the precedent for 20th century liberalism. The first order of business for the
Roosevelt administration was financial reform. Banking is a crucial aspect of capitalism
and Roosevelt was very aware of this fact. On his second day in office, Roosevelt called
Congress to meet in a special session. The outcome was the Emergency Banking Relief Act,
which permitted stable banks to reopen and provided managers to those who remained in
trouble. The Glass-Steagall Act separated commercial and investment banking and created
the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. These actions all helped restore banking
confidence within American people. Roosevelt ensured that it was safer to "keep your money
in a reopened bank than under the mattress"(Tindall and Shi 1238). After accomplishing
this task, the new administration was ready to solve other problems. Other financial
programs included the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Industrial
Recovery Act (NIRA), and the Agriculture Adjustment Administration (AAA). The SEC
functioned in regulating the stock and bond markets. The NIRA and AAA were aimed at
recovery through regulation. The NIRA played a big role in restoring faith and confidence
in the system and helped to increase demand and wages, but realistically it was
impractical; it abandoned the American market system. The NIRA did work for a short time,
perhaps because a new air of confidence had overcome the depression blues and the downward
spiral of wages and prices had subsided. But as soon as economic recovery began, the
honeymoon ended (Tindall and Shi 1248). The AAA was set up to help farmers with the costs
of harvesting their crops. The AAA achieved success in boosting the overall farm economy,
but unfortunately, someone had to pay for the success. That someone was the taxpayers and
consumers.Relieving the widespread distress was another major priority of the new
administration. Roosevelt once remarked, " The test of our progress is not whether we add
to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough for those who
have too little" (Tindall and Shi 1241). Congress' first step in accomplishing this goal
was the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was designed to give
work to unmarried young men aged eighteen to twenty-five. The Federal Emergency Relief
Administration (FERA) gave money to states in the form of grants. The money was then
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