Sunday, March 04, 2007

What About the Social Aspect!

In the year of 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was America's first Democratic president in twelve years. During his presidency, he took steps in order to restore the U.S. nation from a massive depression that struck in 1929. He established a reform program called the New Deal. The New Deal did not go far in confronting the social problems within the U.S. about women and minorities, but its central focus was to maintain a capitalist economy. Although African Americans, classified as minorities, began to place their faith in FDR, he did not possess much concern for their condition and position in society. Women were also placed in lower positions within society and FDR's response was similar to that of the black population. However, the New Deal established several programs and acts which benefited the nation's economy a great deal.

The African American population had begun to support and revere FDR' s position as president. However, they did not receive the same support from him. Blacks were usually the last people hired or the first fired from several jobs. New Deal agencies would discriminate against blacks by entirely excluding them. Many black sharecroppers lost their land due to the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Act) which required them to reduce crop yields and increase prices. Although African Americans were exploited, FDR attempted to address these problems by appointing the first black federal judge in U.S. history and making a Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice. It appeared as though he took these few actions in order to make it appear to people that he possessed some concern for the minority population.

Women were placed in lower positions in society by being classified as inferior to men. Several females were paid wages that were lower than those of a male. They seldom received promotions and were often denied jobs that required a competition with men. As with the black population, women reaped very little benefits from the New Deal. They received employment from New Deal agencies and the first woman was appointed by FDR to hold a cabinet position as secretary of labor. Even though changes by the New Deal were observed, these actions did not seem to be taken out of concern, but to prevent controversies.

Unlike its response to the problems with minorities and women, the New Deal established several programs and acts that benefited the nation's economy. Its main objective was to preserve capitalism in the U.S. The New Deal restructured taxes by placing a higher income tax on the wealthy and capital gains. The Glass-Steagall Act was created to prohibit commercial banks from speculating excessively. It also added $1 billion to the economy in gold and made the FDIC which gave bank deposits up to $5,000. The Securities and Exchange Commission was created to regulate the stock market and reduce wild speculation. All of these actions, and others in addition, contributed to the New Deal's goal to maintain capitalism in America.

To conclude, it was evident that the New Deal was more focused on the economic status of the U.S. than the social aspect. FDR took certain actions that seemed to be done out of obligation and not concern for specific groups of people, such as minorities and women. Accumulating money had been the main objective of this reform program.


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