The stock market crash of 1929 was the first domino to fall and plunge the United States into The Great Depression. The Great Depression of the 1930’s spelled the end of an era of economic prosperity during the 1920’s. Herbert Hoover was the unfortunate president who was burdened with blame for this economic circumstance. After the stock market crash, unemployment soared from 1,550,000 to 12,830,000(Source J). However, when FDR took office in 1933, his “New Deal” plan would change the course of American history for years to come.
The presidential administration under FDR would extremely effective in combating the depression that fell upon this country and used the powers of the government to benefit the general public and eventually ending the Great Depression. The New Deal was the name President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to a series of economic programs he initiated between 1933 and 1936 with the goals of giving work to the unemployed, reform of business and financial practices, and recovery of the economy during The Great Depression.
The “First New Deal” of 1933 was aimed at short-term recovery programs for all groups which were called the ‘Alphabet Agencies’. The Roosevelt administration promoted or implemented banking reform laws, emergency relief programs, work relief programs, agricultural programs, and industrial reform (the NRA), a federal welfare state, as well as the end of the gold standard and prohibition. William Lloyd Garrison calls the New Deal “an enormous outpouring of federal money for human relief and immense sums for public-works project” (Source D).
The TVA, PWA, CCC, WPA were all programs to put people into jobs and money into pockets. These programs helped end the “widespread labor unrest”(Source G). A “Second New Deal” (1935–36) included labor union support, the WPA relief program, the Social Security Act, and programs to aid farmers, including tenant farmers and migrant workers. The Supreme Court ruled several programs unconstitutional; however, most were soon replaced, with the exception of the NRA. In practice the New Deal ended with World War II.
As Roosevelt himself said in December, 1943, “Dr. New Deal” had given way to “Dr. Win the War. ” The major effect of the Great Depression on America was expanded government intervention into new areas of social and economic affairs and the creation of more social assistance agencies at the national level. The relationship between the national government and the people changed drastically. The government took on a greater role in the everyday social and economic lives of the people.
The New Deal programs of FDR also created a liberal political alliance made up of labor unions, blacks and other ethnic and religious minorities, intellectuals, the poor, and some farmers. These groups became the backbone of the Democratic Party for decades following the Depression. The Great Depression and the New Deal measure led to the domestic programs of JFK’s New Frontier, and LBJ’s Great Society and War on Poverty. The New Deal measures have also an influence on the current Obama administration, in its attempts to stimulate the economy.
President Roosevelt’s New Deals let America thrive as if it never missed a step. The “future has been strengthened and renovated” (Source H). Many think the federal government over stepped its bounds and its authority “pushed to an extreme”(Source F), but that is what revived the country’s economic stature. The changes made under FDR not only changed the economic and political stance for those with much power, “the Roosevelt administration has tried to include the Negro in nearly every phase of its program”(Source I). These changes have made this country a much better place and critics can’t argue with the facts.