Was the New Deal a success? Essay

Source A tells us why people supported Roosevelt in the 1932 election because Roosevelt shows many speech giving techniques to persuade the listener. His speech is a patriotic war appeal to America and he uses alliteration to represent the depression, ‘Destruction, Delay, Deceit and Despair. ‘ Those four things are the so-called ‘war’ that he is fighting against and it is this sentence that would have been the headlines the following morning. He talks about ‘us’ and ‘we,’ including the listener with him so he is acting as one of the people, not like a dictator who is planning to do things against their will.

He uses very personal words such as ‘I pledge you, I pledge you,’ to try and appeal to the public in a personal way. The speech stresses that Roosevelt is not simply trying to win votes but his aims are for the benefit of the public. When outbreaks of poliomyelitis spread across America in 1921, Roosevelt contracted Polio at the age of 39. He slowly became wheelchair bound but still managed to become the leader of the democrat party and won the sympathy vote from thousands of undecided people.

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He won respect and managed to overcome the difficulties of Polio, and it was a sign of strength; that if he overcame Polio that he might have a good chance of overcoming the Depression. President Hoover is appealing to the rich people and the hard workers, saying that you should work for your money and not get help from the government. This concept was called rugged individualism and is represents what the Republicans stood for. This had been tested and failed and was becoming very unpopular with the American people, and the people it did please, the rich and hard workers were the minority of the population.

A popular saying at the time was ‘In Hoover we trusted and now we are busted. ‘ Hoover also believed that the Depression would just slowly disappear in time. Roosevelt, however, recognized that something had to be done about the Depression that had hit America in 1929. It devastated the American economy and since then Hoover had been ignoring it, or proposing weak and halfhearted schemes to try and resolve the issue. In Roosevelt’s speech he talks about a radical new idea to try and have dramatic changes all over America to try and tackle the Depression directly and forcefully.

He also appeals to the right groups of people, to the ordinary working class man and proposes to help the poor and needy. He proposed schemes to revive industries and agriculture reduce unemployment, give fast relief for the poor and old. In his policy he promised to end the prohibition of alcohol, which was welcomed by the majority of the country. He is seen as a warm man who cares about his people, rather than a cold, uncaring person like Hoover. In source A, Roosevelt talks about ‘a crusade to restore America. ‘ This is what the people wanted; a huge change in the way the country was run to try and restore the prosperity America once had.

Hoover was proposing very minor changes in the way things were going to go and his argument was much less patriotic and effective than Roosevelt’s. Question 2 – Sources B and C are two judgements on the New Deal that differ in certain ways. Firstly and most significantly, Source B supports Roosevelt and source C does not. Source B talks about the general attitude in America improving ‘change from depression and discouragement to excitement and hope,’ Source C has a very heavy focus on the amount of money Roosevelt used to achieve his goals.

‘There is a National debt for $250 billion, compared to a pre-Roosevelt debt of $19 million. These figures are debatable however as there is no evidence to support them. Source B mentions the rebuilding of the physical side of the country; the natural resources were being destroyed and Roosevelt ‘tackled it with energy’ and put 3 million young men into work in restoring it successfully. Sources B and C are not necessarily contradicting, however. Both could be true as they talk about different aspects of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Source B talks about the successes of the New Deal and the reduction in unemployment etc, while source C is talking about the price at which these achievements came.

Where source B sticks to facts and figures to get across its point, source C resorts to colourful similes ‘The war rescued him and he seized on it like a drowning man’ The two sources disagree very strongly on the subject of dictatorship. Source B says that it is incorrect to say that Roosevelt could have been leading a dictatorship because he could be voted out at the next general election, which is a fair and valid point. Source C states that Roosevelt was given billions of dollars, and so gained much more power that could be used to make a dictatorial government, which is a slightly less convincing argument.

Source C says that the reason that America came out of the Depression is that World War Two employed millions of men and boosted the American economy due to loans etc. Source B mentions nothing about the war and says that Roosevelt pulled America out of the Depression. I don’t think that there is much of a significance in the authors of the sources, because source B was written by an American historian in 1945, and source C was written by an American historian slightly before 1945, so they both have hindsight to help them. Question 3 – The photographer in source D is trying to show the racial issues that existed in America at this time.

Black people are shown queuing up to receive their government relief that had been introduced in 1932 while a poster showing off the fine standards of living is behind them. It is a very effective photo because it shows the contrast between the image that America wants to show off, which is healthy white Americans in a nice car, when in reality not all groups are well off. The black people are in need of money because they are queuing up for government relief and although they are no longer slaves, they still have a very poor quality of life. They are wearing very shabby clothes and do not carry any jewelry or expensive belongings.

The white Americans in the car are wearing nice clothes and hats, and in 1937 cars were extremely expensive. The poster is a stark contrast the real image in front of it. The photographer is trying to show that the poster is unreal in the sense that it is only a picture, but also that it is a false picture. The poster may not have been erected in 1937. It may have been put up before the Depression, and there was no money to replace it. If it was erected in 1937 the reasons for the poster are questionable; is it there to inspire black people to be rich and comfortable like the WASPS?

The photo shows that there are still very big differences in racial communities and the way that different communities are treated. The blacks were not the original people who first moved over to America and therefore the people who were there first, the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS), consider themselves to be of a higher class than the black people. The blacks were heavily discriminated against, with the help of such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan. The 1929 Wall Street Crash affected the extremely poor more than anyone else.

A lot of black people were working in farms, and as the price of the food lowered the farmers got poorer and they had to cut back on certain things, which included employees and so the black people working on the farm found themselves out of work. They could no longer afford basic things such as food and clothes, and this is why they are all queuing up for government relief. There may be several other small, hidden meanings in the photo. The white people are in a car and are just about to run over the line of black people. This could represent the racial discrimination of the WASPS at this time.

There is a dog in the car, which is leading a better life than the black people and shows the extremity of the situation. The fact that the family in the poster is in a car may symbolize the speed and progress in their advances in technology and living standards, compared to the black people who are walkiung and making very slow progress. The authenticity of the photo may be doubted, however. The photographer may have staged the scene, and put a line of black American people who may in fact have been not struggling at all in front of the poster to create a message to people who see the photograph.

Question 4 – Source E is against Roosevelt and his New Deal. The cartoonist portrays Roosevelt as someone who is pumping more and more money into his economy in attempt to get it going. However all the ‘money’ is leaking out the sides of the pump, and therefore shows that a lot of the money that Roosevelt is getting is not being used effectively at all, but just being wasted. Roosevelt is saying ‘I hope THIS will make it work’ and he is shown trying the same thing over and over again, i. e. continually pouring more and more money in and only the smallest amount is landing in the New Deal bucket.

He is not changing his strategies at all, just relying on the taxpayer money, which is mostly being lost in huge leaks or lying in a big pool in a cave, useless to anyone. The cartoon shows the scale of the problem, as there is a sigh saying ’16 billion spent’ Source F is supporting Roosevelt. The bin that he is carrying is full of Hoover’s old promises that he didn’t keep, such as ‘prosperity is around the corner,’ and ‘a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot. ‘ He is throwing out everything Hoover stood for that failed to work. Roosevelt is depicted as a nice, smiling man who is walking.

Roosevelt was wheelchair bound and the cartoon shows a Roosevelt who has overcome Polio with his strength and therefore he can overcome the Depression. The man with ‘HH’ on his briefcase is Hoover who is catching the next train out of town. The caption at the bottom of the cartoon, ‘getting rid of the rubbish,’ shows that the cartoonist is supporting Roosevelt and the New Deal because he calls Hoover’s presidency ‘rubbish. ‘ Source G is against Roosevelt and his New Deal. The cartoon shows Roosevelt giving medicine to Uncle Sam, who represents America.

He looks very weak and ill, and represents the state of America at this time. The Alphabet agencies are shown as medicine that Roosevelt is giving to Uncle Sam, and there are loads of different types, none of which have worked. The biggest bottle of medicine is the NRA, the National Recovery Administration, which is shown as being the biggest failure of all. The congress is represented by a woman who is subservient to Roosevelt, when in reality they should have the same amount of power. The US is represented as not being able to help itself.

It is just allowing Roosevelt to keep trying new things that keep on failing and is not helping itself at all. It is just expecting to be cured. Question 5 – The two sources vary dramatically in their reliability. Whereas source I is very reliable, source H is not. Source I is probably reliable because it is a popular song, and therefore thousands of people would have sung it, and they must have supported him as it is a very pro-Roosevelt song. Source H is a letter published by Roosevelt’s supporters. This could, in theory, be a very small number of people and so does not represent the general opinion of America.

A popular song however was sung by a very large number of people and so does represent the general US opinion. It was also after the election so not propaganda by Roosevelt. Source H was part of Roosevelt’s election campaign and therefore is bound to be biased or even altered to promote him. The couple who allegedly wrote it may not have even written the letter. The letter itself is only showing the opinion of two people, which certainly does not represent America’s public opinion, The only hint that everyone is supporting him is the sentence ‘We join millions of others in praying for you every night. It is only one positive letter and it may have been the only positive letter out of thousands of negative ones. However this is unlikely because Roosevelt one the election with a landslide, so it does suggest that he did have a good public opinion. The letter supports Roosevelt’s fireside chat image.

He got the letter and sent someone round to deal with the problem. This shows a personal concern for individual members of the public and the letter picks out what Roosevelt thought was important. In source I, there are certain lines that are particular and would relate to the people who sang it. He’s got things in full swing, we’re all working and getting our pay,’ would relate to many of the people who sang the song. However the song may have become very popular because of the tune that people liked, or because it was ‘catchy. ‘ Certain lines in the song may have been added simply for a rhyming effect and are not necessarily true. It does not give many specific details and is therefore less useful to the historian, but probably a more reliable source. Question 6 – Sources J and K disagree about the New Deal mainly because S. B.

Fuller, who wrote source J, is a republican and Frances Perkins is a Democrat and the secretary of Labour in Roosevelt’s New Deal. They come from two different governments that support two different ideas. The republicans believed in laissez faire, or letting people get on with their own loves and not interfering with people’s money problems. This is what Hoover did and proved to be unsuccessful and was unpopular at the time of the New Deal. The democrats believed in intervention, or helping the people who needed money and benefits, creating new jobs for people and rebuilding the physical side of America. S.

B. Fuller was a self-made businessman and therefore he could relate to Hoover’s policies and ideas because they targeted people like him who did not need help from the government. His speech may even have been inspired by Hoover’s earlier speeches during his presidency and in the 1932 election. There are several clues in Fuller’s speech that indicates this. Republicans believed that people should make their own way and that the government should not interfere too much. Fuller shows that he supports this when he says, ‘You’re free to eat if you can pay for your food and you’re free to starve if you don’t pay.

He may also be slightly resentful that would have been taxed heavily and would have been a victim of the ‘red tape,’ a set of laws businessmen had to abide by or be prosecuted, and so he would have had to go by rules that he hadn’t before, such as a limited income and a limit on his produce. He had to work very hard to get his money and prosperity on his own, so why should people be given money and food and clothes and have not rightfully earned them. He believes that people will not go a make an effort to find a job when they can receive the necessary benefits whilst being unemployed.

The source was written in 1980, in a time where the government was republican and so it would be easy to criticize the New Deal. He was on the wrong end of the New Deal and had to deal with changes such as a rise in the minimum wage, so he would have had to pay his employees more money. However, Frances Perkins who benefited greatly from the New Deal and helped to initiate it, would be very supportive of FD Roosevelt. She was very close to Roosevelt and writing in 1947, recently after his death, she would be very supportive and sympathetic towards him.

She shows several signs of the democratic belief, including ‘the forces of the community should be directed to making life better for ordinary people. ‘ Question 7 – The evidence in sources supports both interpretations almost equally. The number of sources that support the two interpretations is the same, however not all the sources carry equal weight and some are more reliable than others. Both interpretations are, in their own way, historically valid to a point. Almost all the sources can be used to back up either of the arguments.

Only source A is virtually useless as it was part of Roosevelt’s election campaign and was written before the New Deal came into effect and therefore cannot tell us how it affected the lives of the American people in the decade after. Interpretation one is an argument that talks about the social side of American life and how it affected the US public as a whole. It is supported by sources B, F, H, I and K. Source B is perhaps the best source to use as an indicator of the success of the New Deal, because a neutral American Historian writes it in 1945, after the New Deal and can see with hindsight how it affected America.

The fact that he is American shows that he lived through the New Deal and would have been able to describe its affects to the community near him very well. ‘Those who lived through the spring of 1933 will remember change from depression and discouragement to excitement and hope. ‘ This extract almost mirrors the part of interpretation one where it says ‘It gave them confidence to lift the United States out of depression. The source also talks of the success of the physical restoration of the country. ‘The CCC planted 17 million acres of new forests and 6 million dams.

The source not only agrees with interpretation one, but also heavily disagrees with interpretation two. It contradicts the idea that the government had too much power. ‘All power is still in the hands of the people. They can vote out of power governments they do not like. The charge that Roosevelt has been a dictator is not true. ‘ The source leans heavily on the idea that it helped the ordinary people. Another source that uses this idea to support Roosevelt is source K. It is written by Frances Perkins who was the secretary of Labour in the 1930s, so the source is obviously pro-Roosevelt.

It mentions the fact that although the richer people did not benefit the rich people, it greatly benefited the already suffering people and the ordinary working class man. The number of these people far outstrips the number of rich people and therefore the New Deal was a success, in her opinion. ‘ The New Deal meant that ordinary people would have a better chance in life. ‘ The source is not entirely reliable however. It was written a few years after Roosevelt died, and so she would be inclined to be sympathetic towards him. It would be very hard to judge harshly a man who died of a disease when he was working so hard for his country.

Therefore, although the source outlines the exact points of the interpretation, it is not entirely reliable. In contrast, a source that is reliable but doesn’t exactly outline the points of the interpretation is source F. Source F supports interpretation one, but it is not a very good source to use as an argument. It was published in 1933, one year after Roosevelt won the election and his schemes had not fully come into operation yet. The cartoon displays all the promises that Hoover did not keep being thrown out by Roosevelt and this is based solely on Roosevelt’s election campaign.

The full effects of Roosevelt’s presidency had not yet been observed and so the cartoon is not to be used as a primary indication of the success of Roosevelt and his New Deal. However it does loosely support the interpretation because it supports Roosevelt and says that it did indeed give people hope of what was to come. Another example of the hope that people saw in Roosevelt was in part of his election campaign; source H. It is a letter written by a couple that Roosevelt had helped as leader of his party. It outlines the things that Roosevelt stood for, his fireside chat image.

It supports interpretation one because it gives one good example of the ‘confidence to lift the United States out of the depression,’ that people gained. The people who he helped were exactly the kind of people that Roosevelt was targeting, the people who couldn’t afford to live a good life on their own and that needed help. The source’s reliability is to be doubted, because there is no evidence that the letter is genuine; the letter may simply have been written by Roosevelt’s advisors to promote him in his election campaign.

However, this is doubtful because if he was ever found out this would be a public scandal and Roosevelt would not want to risk this. A much more reliable source that contributes heavily to the argument of interpretation one is source I. It is a ‘popular,’ song that describes the points made in interpretation one. ‘He’s got things in full sway, we’re all working and getting our pay,’ This shows that many of the people were getting their fair wages and had jobs, and a popular song would reflect the general public opinion very well.

The source is very reliable because it was sung by the people themselves, it was not a song made up by Roosevelt or a democrat. It outlines the specific things that interpretation one does when it says how the ordinary working class people benefited from the New Deal. All these sources above are contradicted by the rest of the sources, namely C, D, E, G and J, which all support interpretation 2. The most useful source out of these is source C, which is the best source that contributes to the argument promoting interpretation two. The source mentions in detail everything that the opinion does.

It mentions how expensive the New Deal was ‘A national debt of $250 billion, compared to a pre-Roosevelt debt of $19 billion. ‘ The mention of an over powerful government in the quotation is also reinforced in the source. ‘(Billions of dollars) gave him a power which he used ruthlessly. The only result of this will be dictatorial government. ‘ The Second World War is also mentioned in both extracts. The source says ‘By leading his country into war he was able to put every man and woman into work. ‘ Interpretation two agrees with this when it says that World War Two solved America’s economic problems.

However, Source C comes from a book entitled ‘The Roosevelt myth,’ and therefore shows that the public opinion of Roosevelt was extremely complimentary, because the author contradicts the view of Roosevelt and the New Deal being a success. The source has facts to back up its argument, and is therefore considered to be reliable. It is written by a neutral American historian, and published in 1945, a few years after Roosevelt’s death, so it has no reason to be biased in any way. A source that does have reason to be biased, however, is source J.

It is written by a self-made businessman and he has reason to be resentful towards Roosevelt. Self-made businessmen like him did not do well out of the New Deal at all. He had to pay his employees more wages, he was taxed extremely heavily, he was a victim of the red tape and he had to control how much produce he could and could not sell. It supports interpretation 2 in only one way, where he stresses that people became too dependent on the government. It does not mention the economical side of the argument, and is therefore not that good a source to use in an argument to support interpretation 2.

Unlike source J, source E does stress the economical problems the Roosevelt created. The cartoon emphasizes that Roosevelt used billions of dollars to try and make the New Deal a success and he only got minimal results from it. This point is made briefly in interpretation 2. ‘ The New Deal wasted a lot of money. ‘ This cartoon is reliable because it was published in a newspaper and would probably reflect the general public opinion at this time, because the newspaper would not want to disagree with the public opinion.

The public would not want to read the newspaper and believe it to be wrong. However, the newspaper may create the public opinion in the first place so it is hard to tell. The remaining two sources are also cartoons. Source D only loosely supports interpretation 2 because it shows poor people queuing up for government relief. However, these people will be getting food from the government so it is more of a neutral source than an anti-Roosevelt source. Source G is also a source that should not be relied on too heavily to promote the anti-Roosevelt interpretation.

It does not highlight any of the points that the interpretation makes, about the economical side, or World War Two. The only thing it touches upon is that Roosevelt had too much power. However, the source is reliable, as it is a published cartoon so it is not to be completely disregarded. Having surveyed and analyzed each of the sources in turn, I think that there are more reliable and accurate sources that contribute to interpretation 1 than interpretation 2.

The sources that support interpretation one have facts to support their arguments, and are written or drawn by generally non-biased authors or artists, and their arguments convince me more than the arguments for interpretation 2 do. However this isn’t to say that interpretation 2 is wrong in its entirety. I do agree with it when it says that the Second World War helped to solve America’s economic problems. However, opinion one is the one I agree with more and there are more sources to support this than interpretation 2.


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