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How Successful Was The New Deal?

To solve the economic problems created by the Great Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a New Deal. The aim was to relieve many economic hardships and give Americans faith in the democratic system. The idea of a New Deal was admired by some people and rejected by others. In this essay I will evaluate the successes and the failures of the New Deal: Firstly, Roosevelt’s most important step was to prevent banks from collapsing from all American people trying to withdraw their money that the banks didn’t have. So Roosevelt set up the Emergency Relief Act (ERA) which involved closing banks for four days. He knew that this would result in the economy ceasing to function properly. After the four days were over, banks recovered and the economic panic was over. To prevent a disaster like the Wall Street Crash again, The Securities Act was introduced.

This meant that all companies which sold shares had to publish information about the company, creating a fair deal in the securities market and providing potential investors with sufficient information about both the issuer and the securities to make an informed investment decision. The National Recovery Administration (NRA) also helped the financial reform by creating a code in which would guarantee fair wages and conditions for workers. The companies who agreed were favoured with contracts. This created a partnership between the government and the industry and reduced destructive competition and to helped workers by setting minimum wages and maximum weekly hours. The Public Works Administration (PWA) was another New Deal agency that concentrated on employing unemployed skilled industrial workers work on constructing large-scale public building schemes like bridges and dams. The act also allowed bargaining for better wages.

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Farmers were another concern – They produced too many crops for the American market which caused prices to decrease rapidly making farmers bankrupt with lots of unwanted produce. In 1933, The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) passed which paid farmers to stop producing crops. This would result in being less produce to sell and the prices of crops would increase because of the small amount of them which would benefit the farmers. The act also gave loans to farmers which provided them with equipment to save them from eviction and encouraging soil conservation. Tennessee Valley was a region that was affected very badly during the Great Depression, 30% of the population had malaria, the average income was very poor and the soil used for farming was eroding away and could be no use.

The agency ‘The Tennessee Valley Authority was set up to modernize the area, to develop fertilizers, taught farmers how to improve crop production and control forest fires and many more ideas that helped Tennessee. The most dramatic change to the area was generated electricity, with electric lights and modern appliances it made life easier and farms more productive. Lots of people were unemployed and starving and desperately needing money. Roosevelt made a big change by setting up another alphabet agency called the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). This gave money to individual states to give out to people who were unemployed and created new unskilled jobs for those without. FERA operated a wide variety of work relief projects such as construction work, projects for professionals – actors/actresses, writers and musicians- and food production.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) also helped improve the lives of the unemployed. It gave unemployed young men work on environmental projects like Structural improvements, forest protection and building roads and airport landing fields. Even though the men worked hard, they were paid poorly. Roosevelt helped those in danger of losing their homes by providing mortgage assistance to homeowners or would-be homeowners by providing them money and giving them low-interest loans, which would help people meet their mortgage payments. This was accomplished by selling bonds to lenders in exchange for home mortgages. This act was called the Home-owners Loan Corporation (HOLC). But there are some cons to President Roosevelt’s ways of recovering America from The Great Depression: Businessmen and the Republican Party had thought that the New Deal had gone too far.

They said that the New Deal made Americans far too dependent on Government’s help. They thought it was wrong for the government to give Americans pensions and sickness benefits and creating work for unemployed people. Some Businessmen were angry that the New Deal allowed trade unions into the workplace; they believed that it’s unnecessary government interference in how they ran their business affairs. Rich people thought the New Deal was wrong to tax them to pay for the New Deal. The rich earned their wealth through enterprise and own efforts, so taxing the rich discouraged them from wanting to create more wealth. Although The Agriculture Adjustment Act seemed to improve the lives of farmers, there was a downside. For farmers, the soil was turning into dust bowls and no rain made previously fertile lands become deserts, which resulted in them leaving their land and looking for alternative places to work. They also had to pay all the loans of help back to the government which was extremely hard to do without an income.

Many citizens believed that the New Deal didn’t go far enough dealing with poverty or in helping the poorest people to improve their position in American society. The New Deal did provide Emergency Relief to prevent people from starving and jobs were made to aid as many unemployed people as possible. However, no New Deal laws were made to assist black people, with around 30% of all black families were dependant on emergency relief to survive. With reluctance to deal with the race, the issue gave ammunition to Roosevelt’s critics, who claimed that he was less interested in social justice than in preserving the USA’s existing social structure. Roosevelt believed that it was a very important idea of creating a new relationship between workers and employers. When the Wagner Act established workers’ rights to join trade unions and to bargain for their wages, union membership increased.

USA employers hated the idea of their workers joining trade unions, and may do all they could to deny workers rights. When workers went on strike, lots of large companies would hire thugs to beat up union activists and intimidate them. Huey Long, a professional politician, was a fierce critic of Roosevelt. Huey Long blamed him for being too cautious and not doing enough to help people in need. Huey Long made a scheme called ‘Share Our Wealth’ promised to tax the rich and give their money to the poor. This money going to poorer people would give all American families the money to buy a home, car and a radio. Huey Long became a national figure when he became a senator Of Louisiana. If he had not been assonated in 1935, he might have stood against Roosevelt. Another critic of Roosevelt was Dr. Francis Townsend, who said the New Deal didn’t go far enough; it didn’t give people over 60 a pension.

He recommended a plan by which every American over 60 was given a pension of $200 per month on the condition that they spent the money within a month. Dr. Townsend said that this would give a big boost to the economy and decrease unemployment. To conclude, history tells us that the New Deal was successful. It didn’t solve employment altogether but it certainly reduced it. It didn’t solve all the problems that the Great Depression caused but it did a lot to protect Americans from its worst effects. One of the biggest aims was to put the USA back to work, the New Deal made agencies help fulfill that aim like the CCC, the PWA and the AAA. Millions of American people were found to work through government-sponsored projects. Americans also benefitted from the work carried out – schools, new roads and hospitals.

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How Successful Was The New Deal?. (2021, Apr 10). Retrieved May 9, 2021, from