The new deal


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The new deal

  1. 1. Chris Haygood<br />HIST202<br />October 25, 2010<br />“The New Deal”<br />The turn of the 20th century set people into a new mindset in terms of business and politics, until the 1930’s when the Great Depression struck the United States. Even though the people of the country were skeptical about Franklin Roosevelt, he instilled a new set of plans that would completely turn over one of the greatest economic blunders in our country’s history.<br />While the aftermath of Hoover’s presidency was still being felt, the people of the late 1920’s and 1930’s called upon Franklin D. Roosevelt to try to change the country’s economy around with a new set plans and acts referred to as “The New Deal”, even though many common American’s referred to the programs as “alphabet soup” because the government would need to contemplate many new tactics in order for people to keep their jobs (Dr. Etcheson, lecture on “The New Deal”, October 18, 2010). With unemployment rates up to 25% during the ten years of depression Roosevelt initiated plans such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, which, though segregated, gave young men jobs creating national parks. This not only helped out the country aesthetically, but gave many young men hopes of feeding their families. Programs such as the Works progress administration, enacted in 1935, gave men jobs building subways, museums, roads, etc… which not only helped these men financially, but gave them a sense of self worth, just working hard to make ends meet. (Dr. Etcheson, Lecture on the New Deal, October 18, 2010)<br />Even though the government-created jobs enacted by Roosevelt helped out the people of the country substantially, what about those running big business? Prior to FDR’s inauguration, corruption in big business was all too common and accepted (except for Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency). During this time, roughly six hundred corporations controlled nearly two thirds of American industry, while the other one third was split amongst ten million small business owners (Reading the American Past, “The New Deal Experiment” pp. 167). Just by even completing this study at the time, Roosevelt was showing the common man that they were not being ignored, which, in combination with implemented plans of the time, gave people some sort of reassurance. However, Roosevelt still reiterated that this country’s economy was one built around capitalism, stating that if not for the Industrial Revolution, the basis of most big business, America would not be what it was at the time. “The dream was the dream of an economic machine, able to raise the standard of living for everyone” (Reading the American Past, “The New Deal Experiment” pp 165); “The financiers who pushed the railroads to the Pacific were always ruthless, often wasteful, and frequently corrupt; but they did build railroads, and we have them today”(Reading the American Past, “The New Deal Experiment” pp 166). Franklin Roosevelt wanted to somehow regulate these big businesses and give people the jobs they were looking for, with as little government interference as possible, but that was nearly impossible. “The government should assume the function of economic regulation only as a last resort, to be tried only when private initative, inspired by high responsibility, with such assistance and balance as government can give, has finally failed” (Reading the American Past, “The New Deal Experiment” pp168). Even though those that were unemployed were quickly finding government issued jobs, those that were already performing unskilled labor in corporate factories were being demeaned by low wages and acquired an even larger feeling of hopelessness. “Now Miss Perkins just think about our condition how hard it is to come up to the American Standard of living on less than $10.00 for 40 hours work and 7 or 8 in family…”(Reading the American Past, “Working People’s Letters to New Dealers” pp170). In 1938, however, the Fair Labor Standards Act set a maximum 40 hour work week, enacted minimum wage, and gave laborers the chance at time and a half, giving workers a new hope from their somewhat hopeless jobs (Dr. Etcheson, Lecture on the New Deal, October 18, 2010).<br />On the other hand, however, some felt that these government programs were hindering the working class, especially farmers. As with any third party help, there will always be the select few that take advantages of others’ goodwill. “We have always had a shiftless, never-do-well class of people whose one and only aim in life is to live without work… We cannot help those who will not try to help themselves and if they do try, a square deal is all they need, and by the way that is all this country needs or ever has needed: a square deal for all and then, let each paddle their own canoe, or sink… As for the old people on beggars’ allowances: the taxpayers have provided homes for all the old people who never liked to work, where they will be neither cold nor hungry: much better homes than most of them have ever tried to provide for themselves… During the worst of the depression many of the farmers had to deny their families butter, eggs, meat, etc. and sell it to pay their taxes then had to stand by and see the dead-beats carry it home to their families by the arm load…” (Reading the American Past, “Letter to Eleanor Roosevelt” pp184-185). <br />The New Deal was a plan supported by many and opposed by many as well, but the implications of The New Deal led to the outcome desired by all. After nearly ten years of a country being hindered by the effects of an economic downfall, the New Dealers ultimate goal was accomplished by implementing plans such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and the Social Security Act. Even though many businesses were affected by these acts, ultimately, the people of the United States loosened the strict grip that poverty and disdain had over them by way of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.<br /> <br />