The New Deal Essay, Research Paper
All countries and civilizations throughout history have been run with some form of government or leadership. Whether the governing body is ruled by a tyrant, monarchy, democracy, or even a tsar, the body has certain responsibilities and jobs. In any given country, the role of the government varies according to the state of the country and the desires of the people in it. During different time periods in American history, the people have expected different things from their government according to the situation. Between the 1920?s and 1930?s, our nation?s perceptions of the role of government, its powers, and responsibilities went from wanting the government to keep out of business and the economy to seeking change and governmental actions.
With the inauguration of Warren G. Harding, the 1920?s were staged to be a ?Return to Normalcy.? Between the ruling of Harding and Calvin ?Cool Cal? Coolidge, America founds its way back to regularity. The country prospered from new inventions and technology along side with the laissez-faire styles of governing brought by Harding and Coolidge; ?… the 1920?s presidents viewed the role of government as a passive servant of business rather than as an active regulator…?# President Coolidge said: ?The business of America is business,? meaning that the economy was doing fine and did not need many if any regulations. This led to good relationships between large businesses, government, and the people of America as shown in this quote: ?With the upsurge in prosperity, most Americans shed their fears of big business and ceased complaining about the depredations of large corporations.?# This protection occurred not only from the executive branch, but also by the legislative branch; ?The U.S. Supreme Court was dominated by conservative jurists during the 1920?s… Many of its decisions protected business from rigorous regulation, weakened trade unions, and nullified social legislation.?# Some great inventions that came along with the twenties were: the automobile, sound movies, the telephone, electric power and lights, and the radio. Everything in America seemed to be going proficiently, well at least for the time being.
Herbert Hoover entered the White House at a time of great prosperity, however, he did not know that by the end of his term the state of the country would be quite reversed. It was during Herbert Hoovers presidency that America entered the great depression. What is now known as Black Thursday (October 24, 1929) led to the infamous ?crash of ?29? on the following Tuesday, October 29. The stock market crash was essentially what led to the depression. Herbert Hoover and his continuation of Coolidge?s laissez-faire type government failed to regulate the economy and business; ?Hoover, eschewing laissez-faire, accepted governmental responsibility for reviving the economy and saving the capitalist system… Hoover?s anti-depression program not only failed to generate economic recovery, it failed to even arrest the downward spiral of the business cycle.?#
It was at this time of great depression that the attitudes of Americans towards the roles of government changed the most. They needed a leader who could make things happen and turn around their country. They found this quality in Franklin D. Roosevelt and his ?New Deal.? Americans were excited by the promises made by FDR as shown here:
?The heart of his speech was a promise to fight the depression with a bold program, to do whatever was necessary to restore prosperity.
His words electrified a people yearning for reassurance. In one speech he had accomplished what Hoover had failed to do in four years; he convinced Americans that an effective leader with faith in the future had taken command. As one hopeful citizen put it, ?At last, a live leader in the White House!??#
FDR succeeded in taking action right away with his ?Bank Holiday.? This holiday was essentially pointless. One congressman protested: ?The President drove the money changers out of the Capitol on March 4- and they were all back on the ninth.? However, the purpose of this holiday was to merely show the people that actions were being taken by the government. FDR?s New Deal had three main goals; relief, recovery, and reform, and in the first one-hundred days of his presidency he passed a flurry of legislation. Relief consisted of allotting money and jobs to people. Recovery was literally the phase of recuperating the economy. And lastly, reform was the changes made to the economic and business system to ensure that such a cosmic depression could never happen again. One key to the accomplishment of FDR was that he surrounded himself with the best of the best. He created a ?brains trust? which included Hugo Black, Harold Ickes, Raymond Moley, and Harry Hopkins. Surrounded by this group of intelligent people, FDR was triumphant in overcoming America?s great depression.
All countries need some sort of leadership. More specifically, America had gone through a lot of changes between the 1920?s and the 1930?s, and the Americans? criteria for they?re leader also changed dramatically in this time. FDR was so thriving as a president and leader because he was able to meet the criteria of the country. This shows that it is not just the qualities of the leader that is important, but it is how the leader?s qualities coincide with the needs of the country being lead. Although George W. Bush was not very successful while governing Texas, his qualities may fit the needs of our country as whole better than they did with the individual state of Texas. It will be interesting to follow his presidency and to evaluate his achievements.