New Deal – 1055 words – College Essay
The 1930s were one of the most difficult times in American history. It was the time of the Great Depression. Millions of Americans suffered hardships as the economy continued to be in a free fall. Many Americans were unemployed and lost almost everything they had owned. In 1932, America realized it was time for a change, and elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a landslide vote. Roosevelt promised to help end the depression and with his New Deal. The New Deal was Roosevelts plan to end the Great Depression. Through increased government spending, FDR enacted numerous public works programs in an effort to simulate the economy. The New Deals alphabet soup (this was the nickname for the numerous programs FDR enacted) was FDRs plan to people out of the depression. The New Deal affected different industries and groups of Americans in unique ways and helped save the nation.
One of the groups hardest hit by the Great Depression were the farmers. Due to overproduction and under consumption after World War I and during the 1920s, the prices of crops fell dramatically. Because of the low prices, Farmers incomes fell. The farmer was in a crisis as the Great Depression hit. The farmers were crucial to the American economy and FDR and the New Deal intended to help them.
In the first one hundred days of the New Deal, Roosevelt attempted to help the farmers by establishing the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). The AAA was intended to help restore purchasing power of farmers. It restored the price takeoff that helped farmers make all that money during the war. Its main plan was to reduce the size of crops by paying farmers to plow their crops under. This, in theory, would shoot the price of the crops. There were a few problems with the AAA though. It seemed as cruel because the government was destroying crops that could be used to feed all the starving people. The AAA also didnt do much to help tenant farmers and sharecroppers. This was because the money that the government was paying the owners of the farm to plow the fields under was never shared with the tenant farmers and sharecroppers. Even though the farmer owners were told to give some of the money to the people who worked their land they never did.
The New Deal also set up other agencies to help farmers. FDR set up the Farm Resettlement Administration, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), and the Farm Security Administration (FSA). These agencies attempted to help families on the ground. The Farm Resettlement Administration help move families that were effected by things like the Dust Bowl, which destroyed hundreds of acres of farms in the Midwest. The REA helped bring farmers into the twentieth century by providing farmers with electricity. The FSA was to assist rural poor and migrant agricultural worker.
The New Deal also attempted to help workers. The workingman was one of the people hardest hit by the Great Depression. At one point during the one in four Americans, 25% were unemployed. FDR saw this as a major problem and attempted to correct it with a massive public works programs. The New Deal set up agencies such as the Federal Emergency Relief Association (FERA) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). FERA was given one billions dollars to help end hardship. Under FERA, the Civilian Works Association (CWA) and the Civilian Conservation Core (CCC) helped to ease peoples suffering. The CWA hired 4 million people to help do public works projects. The CCC took city boys into the country to do construction work. Their pay was mailed home to their families to help ease the financial struggles. The TVA was perhaps the most successful New Deal project. It built 20 dams and provided cheap power. It also put many people to work.
The most important agency to the workers and FDRs primary vehicle for fighting the depression was the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). Under NIRA, FDR set up set up the National Recovery Agency (NRA) and the Public Works Administration (PWA). The NRA was set up to help business leaders draw up and enforce codes governing prices, wages, and other matters (coded industries would be exempt from the antitrust laws). The PWA was a large-scale public construction company. The PWA had three billion dollars to work with. It created millions of jobs and built a legacy in its work: the Golden Gate Bridge, the Tri-Borough Bridge, and the Hoover Dam are examples of its legacy.
The New Deal also provided a boast for Labor Unions. Unions had taken a beating during the early years of the depression. As unemployment rose during the early years of the depression, membership in unions dropped. Unions were about to become extinct when the New Deal provided them with the push they needed to become the power that they are today.
The new deal also supplied security for everyone. In 1935, the United States became a welfare state with the introduction of the Social Security Act (SSA). The Social Security Act gave people the security that they finally needed. The main provision of the SSA was that it provided federal aid for the elderly, but it was not meant to be the main source of retirement. It also provided unemployment insurance, aid for persons who were blind or crippled, and aid to dependent children. Roosevelt would pay for this act with a tax on corporations and rich people. This act gave the people comfort because they now believed that the government would help them financially when they needed it. It also gave unions more initiative to strike because the government has security for them.
FDRs New Deal gave American hope during a time when there was little optimism. It gave Americans jobs; it put food on the table, and started to restored confidence in the economy. FDRs New Deal might not have ended the Great Depression, but it left a legacy. A legacy that you can see in the unions, in the numerous public works projects, in the big government we have today, in the acts like Social Security, and most importantly in the people whose lives it changed forever.
1)Encarta Concise Encyclopedia Article. (http://encarta.msn.com)
3)Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal (http://www.geocities.com)
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