Franklin Roosevelt’s Radio Address to the Nation
In the 1920s after the First World War, America enjoyed a lot of economic prosperity. People began unfair business practices like the ones Roosevelt is talking about in this address of employing people for long hours, child labor overproduction and trading stock through speculation. Towards the end of the 1920s and early 1930s under the Administration of Herbert Hoover, a Republican, the stock market collapsed, banks, insurance companies and Rail road companies became bankrupt. Hoover believed the government should stay away from business and that the situation would correct itself. He therefore did not do much. Business went down and prices of commodities fell. The economy entered the face Roosevelt is referring in this address as ‘deflation’. People were unable to pay their loans and mortgages and they were being auctioned. This crash came to be referred as the Great Depression.
Roosevelt unlike Hoover believed in government intervention in the economy to remove unfair trade practices and to prevent economic collapse. He rescued banks, insurance companies and rail companies through Federal loans. In this address Roosevelt is stressing the point that he had a choice of staying away and watch as the banks and other companies go down or to intervene and save them and the jobs. He chose to intervene. Roosevelt believed the best way to rescue the country and give people hope was to give them employment. This way money will trickle down to the people create demand which in turn sustains production. To create mass employment for the youth he initiated several programs, like the one he is addressing in this address called Civilian Conservation Corps. These were young men involved in planting trees, draining swamps and soil conservation. Roosevelt’s plans faced a lot of opposition including that he was assuming the powers of Congress. In this address he is absolving himself saying that the work of the presidency is to implement what congress decides. Separation of power between the arms of government was respected.
This address is to enlighten the people on the contents on the New Deal, the legislation in question, and its usefulness to the country to ensure the state and local governments get money to carry out their functions, to stimulate the economy by creating jobs and to regulate business enterprises so that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. He is using this address to tell the nation other plans that are on the way to stimulate and sustain growth such as utilizing government properties at Muscle Shoal, passing legislation on mortgage, Rail road and farming among others. He is also assuring the country that the deficit in the budget is not dangerous and that it will be cleared in future.
The New Deal Roosevelt he is talking about in this address faced a lot of opposition but it succeeded to a great extent and pulled the economy out of recession. Like he is saying, not everything he would do would turn out well but if he can be 75% correct, then it will be useful. That’s what the New Deal was.
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