The New Deal: A Revision Guide.
The New Deal is the name given to a series of policies introduced by President FD Roosevelt following his election in 1932. The New Deal was a wide ranging programme designed to tackle the Great Depression. Policies covered many aspects of the American economy and were met with both praise and strong criticism at the time.
The New Deal (so called after the 1932 nomination speech of F.D.R.) only started once the “Lame-Duck” months had ended.
It had two main phases:
· The First 100 days- March/June 1933. This had to rescue the US economy from over 4000 bank collapses in January of that year, amongst many problems.
· The Second New Deal- laws passed after 1935.
The first series solved immediate emergencies, tried to relieve poverty and aid immediate recovery. The second series made longer lasting change (e.g. The Wagner Act of 1935).
A Summary of the New Deal
Income did improve, but only in 1940 did it reach the levels of the Boom year of 1927. !933 to 1937 saw a large fall in unemployment. Millions found work in the new public works organisations thanks to high public spending. When FDR cut this spending in 1937, the numbers rose again. It was only really WW2 that solved the US jobs problem.
The minimum wage laws and the Alphabet Agencies helped to alleviate but did not remove poverty. Indeed the survival of the depression until the war ensured opposition to the New Deal continued. The poorest third of the US remained no different. People often found work for public agencies, but not in the private sector. Despite the Wagner Act unions still fought over job security. Old Age Pensions, benefits still caused problems. For Blacks and women, especially in the south, little changed. The Farmers received a great deal of help, perhaps because they could shout the loudest.
EXAMPLES/ KEY CONCEPTS
· THE ALPHABET AGENCIES Set up in the first 100 days, with the aim of solving employment problems immediately.
· Trading with the Enemy Act. This allowed for a President to seize broad Executive powers in the time of a National Emergency, such as a war. It had been passed in 1917 during WW1. It had not been cancelled in 1918, so was still effective although unused. FDR felt that in order to defeat the enemy of depression he had to have the power to pass laws with out the consent of Congress. This law allowed him to do that.
· Fireside Chats Given on Radio by FDR 1933-1945 to explain his policies. They were likened to chats as if FDR was in peoples homes. The first, in 1933, was to stop the Bank crisis. Its novelty value was greatly used by FDR to get his message across. He was the first President to do this.
Roosevelt’s First Fireside Chat
Impact of the New Deal