The New Deal: How America Got Essay, Research Paper
One of the worst events in American history is the Great Depression. This was a time when practically everyone in the United States was poor and had given up hope. Everyone knew that something had to be done to save the country but nobody knew what. However, in 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt brought hope to the country with his New Deal program after being elected president. This was a program that brought social and economic reform to the country. The New Deal consisted of many different programs that would help bring money to the people which would in return allow for spending which would help build up the economy. This is how the America got out of the Great Depression.
The Great Depression began in late 1929 and lasted for about a decade. Many factors played a role in bringing about the depression; however, the main cause for the Great Depression was the combination of the greatly unequal distribution of wealth throughout the 1920 s, and the extensive stock market speculation that took place during the later part that same decade. The misdistribution of wealth in the 1920 s existed on many levels. Money was distributed disparately between the rich and the middle-class, between industry and agriculture within the United States, and between the U.S. and Europe. This imbalance of wealth created an unstable economy. The excessive speculation in the late 1920 s kept the stock market artificially high, but eventually lead to large market crashes. These market crashes, combined with the misdistribution of wealth, caused the American economy to capsize. The New Deal s programs helped to raise the economy.
One of the early programs that Roosevelt brought into play was the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC. This was a program that helped bring relief to men between the ages of 18 and 25, as they are the ones that would be more likely to turn to a life of crime to survive. Instead, the CCC enrolled men in work camps around the country. There they earned about $30 a month participating in many different conservation projects. Examples are planting trees to stop erosion, creating game, fish, and bird sanctuaries and conserving coal, gas and petroleum deposits. This was one of the most popular programs with over 2 million young men taking part over the decade.
Another relief effort was the Works Progress Administration or the WPA. This was another attempt to provide work rather then give out welfare. Many buildings, roads, airports, and schools were constructed through this program. Part of this program was the Federal Theatre Project, the Federal Art Project, and the Federal Writers Project. Here, actors, painters, musicians, and writers were given work. Lastly, the National Youth Administration gave part-time employment to students, helped to establish training programs, and provided aid to unemployed youth. At a time the WPA only had about 3 million people involved, but when it was abandoned in 1943 it helped a total of 9 million people.
One of the groups that was hit the hardest during the Great Depression were farmers. In 1933 congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act or AAA. This was created to provide economic relief to farmers. The main plan was to increase crop process by paying farmers a subsidy to compensate for voluntary cutbacks in production. The payments would come from taxes that were levied on industries that processed crops. The Commodity Credit Corporation was also created. This was a program that extended loans for crops kept in storage and off the market.
Another area that Roosevelt felt the New Deal had to cover were different business monopolies. The Nation Recovery Administration, or NRA was created in 1933 with the National Industrial Recovery Act, or NIRA. These was attempts to set codes of fair competitive practice to generate more jobs which would enable people to spend more as they would have money. These would also eliminate monopolies, which would allow for more competition. Businesses complained about the NRA heavily until it was declared unconstitutional in 1935.
However, the NIRA was not a total failure as it opened the door for the National Labor Relations Act as it guaranteed the right of collective bargaining. The National Labor Relations Act helped to define unfair labor practices, gave workers the right to bargain through their choice of unions, and prohibited employers from interfering with union activities. It lastly created the National Labor Relations Board to supervise collective bargaining, administer elections, and ensure workers the right to choose the organization that should represent them in dealing with employers. This was the first time that workers had so much freedom and support from the government.
Another one of the causes for the Great Depression is the fact that people lost faith and trust in the banks. Before their eyes they saw their life savings disappearing because banks were not able to collect on their loans. To help people gain faith back in the banking system the government created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or FDIC. The FDIC insured savings-bank deposits up to $5,000, and severe regulations were imposed on the sale of securities on the stock exchange. The FDIC is still around today insuring up to $100,000.
Lastly, one of the most important and successful programs created from the New Deal was the Social Security Act of 1935. This was aimed to help the elderly, widows, and orphans. Social security is funded by taxes by the earnings of current workers. Every month people qualified will receive a check from the government. This was such a success that social security is one of the largest programs around today.
After the roaring 20 s, America went through the horrible time called the Great Depression. However, with an excellent leader with many ideas, we were able to pull through. The New Deal basically showed that the government is indeed there for the people and will help the people. It opened jobs for the unemployed, created fair laws and regulations, and helped support the helpless. This not only helped build the economy up but it helped to give the American people faith in the government. Without Roosevelt s New Deal, who knows what could have happened to America. But with the many great programs and systems that were enabled because of the New Deal we were able to pick ourselves up again.