Fdr Essay, Research Paper
November 30, 1999
During the 1930’s, America witnessed a breakdown of the free enterprise system as the U.S. fell into the worst economic depression in history. Poverty, unemployment, and famine were 3 of the problems that had the most impact. It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his administration who saw to the fall of the destitute ways of life that had enveloped the nation. When FDR was elected, he planned to change the government in order to include help for the plight of the “forgotten man”. He had a strategy for the change known as the “New Deal”. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs took aim at three R’s: Relief, Recovery, and Reform.
In the New Deal program, Roosevelt had short and long-range goals. One of his first short-range goals was to relieve some of the burdens on Americans – especially during the first 100 days. At the time of Roosevelt’s inauguration, one out of every four citizens was unemployed. Since FDR was intent up on ending human suffering first and foremost, he decided to be open about using federal money to aid the unemployed. With the okay from FDR, the Hundred Days Congress passed much legislation in order to help enable some relief. In 1933, Congress created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which provided employment in fresh-air government camps for about 3 million uniformed young men. Their work included reforestation, fire fighting, flood control, and swamp drainage. Also new in 1933 was the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA). It was the first major effort of Congress to deal with the unemployed adults, and its chief purpose was immediate relief rather than long range recovery. Other legislation passed by Congress included the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), and Civil Works Administration (PWA).
Roosevelt’s other short-term goal, Recovery, was also off to a good start in the first 100 days of his administration. There were many legislative acts passed by Congress in order to allow for a quick recovery for the nation. The two best examples of recovery in the first 100 days would be the Emergency Banking Relief Act, which allowed the president to regulate banking transactions and foreign exchange and to reopen solvent banks. The National Industrial Recovery Act, which created the National Recovery Administration (NRA), was designed to assist industry, labor, and the unemployed, and the Public Works Administration, as well as unemployment relief.
Roosevelt’s one long-term goal, Reform, also had its spot on the 100 days Congress list. Although it was a long-term goal, in order to get the proper effects in the future, work needed to begin immediately. For the reform category of the New Deal, the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, and the Glass-Steagall Banking Reform Act were very important at the time. The TVA was fixed on finding out exactly how much the production and distribution of electricity cost so that a “yardstick” could be set up to test the fairness of rates charged by private companies. In the end, the TVA brought about full employment, inexpensive electric power, low-cost housing, abundant cheap nitrates, and many other amenities only once dreamed of in the impoverished area in which it was located. The Glass-Steagall Banking Reform Act provided for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which insured individual deposits up to $5,000, and helped put an end to the epidemic of bank failures in the United States and abroad.
After Roosevelt had the early part of the New Deal underway with the 100 days Congress, he moved into the future, broadening his goals in order to reach beyond the Great Depression, and also to try to prevent another depression for happening. This part of his program had the same format as the first part. It was divided into the same three categories: recovery, relief, and reform. Although there were never two different specific parts of the New Deal, they are broken up into Roosevelt’s short-term goals, being what he did to alleviate human suffering immediately upon taking office, and his long-term goals, the preventative measures enacted to ensure the economic stability of the future.
The two best examples of recovery under the New Deal after the first 100 days include the Gold Reserve Act and the Fair Labor Standards. Fair Labor Standards stated that industries involved in interstate commerce were to set up a minimum-wage and maximum-hour standard. The intended goal was to eventually get to forty cents an hour and a forty-hour work week. Labor by children under sixteen was prohibited, and if it was dangerous work, it was restricted to children under eighteen.
In the relief section of the long-term portion of the New Deal, FDR created the Works Progress Administration as well as the Civil Works Administration. The purpose of the Works Progress Administration was employment on projects that were beneficial to the country. Although the agency ended up spending $11 billion on thousands of public buildings, bridges, and hard-surfaced roads, the money was very well spent. As a result, nearly 9 million people were employed over a period of eight years. The Civil Works Administration, which was a branch of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, was designed to provide temporary jobs during the winter emergencies.
Finally, in the reform division of the New Deal, the best examples of the reform during the latter 100 days would be between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nation Labor Relations Act, and the Social Security Act. The SEC was designed as a watchdog administrative agency in order to protect the public against fraud, deception, and inside manipulation of the stock market. The National Labor Relations Act reasserted the right of laborers to engage in self-organization and to bargain collectively through representatives of its own choice, and the Social Security Act provided for federal and state unemployment insurance as well as providing some financial security for the elderly.
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt entered office in 1933, much of America was destitute and in poor spirits. FDR and his New Deal helped put America back on the map as an industrial power. The new programs had the right features in order to improve the economic standpoint and also allowed for much new legislation to pass, which are still protecting Americans to this day. The Depression was a devastating event in America, and by regulating banks and the Stock Market, the New Deal eliminated the dubious financial practices that helped precipitate the Great Depression. With the coming of WWII, the United States would finally begin to see financial security, and a flourishing economy.