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Saturday, March 10, 2007

World of Depression: FDR is U.S. Savior

In the year of 1929, the Great Depression struck the U.S. and had a major effect on the nation's functions, such as the economy. Unemployment rates increased, farmers' incomes decreased, and the social sector was dramatically hit. New investments decreased while homelessness increased. America was headed in a downward spiral to destruction. However, in 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president. He had officially become the country's "savior." FDR's responses to the Great Depression succeeded in upholding the U.S. as a capitalist nation and allowed the federal government to become more involved in domestic affairs. He established a reform program known as the New Deal to possibly assist America out of its condition. Several agencies, organizations, and acts were created for unemployment relief and stimulation of the economy. The African American population and women benefited from many New Deal establishments. Laws were also passed in order to meet the needs of the people.

FDR's New Deal program created several agencies, organizations, and acts to decrease unemployment and stimulate the economy.The Emergency Banking Relief Act was passed in 1933. FDR closed down all banks for 4 days and reopened only those that were solvent. The gold standard was dissolved and paper currency was brought into the nation. The government felt paper money was a more efficient way to count the amount of money in the system. In 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act was also passed. $1 billion was added to the economy, commercial banks were prohibited from excess speculation, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was created which gave bank deposits up to $5,000. Many young men were hired to do conservation work by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Employment was provided and additional money was placed into the economy. The Securities and Exchange Commission was made to reduce wild speculation and regulate the stock market. Senator Robert Wagner wrote a letter in 1934 stating how he believed business would lead to employment. The Wagner- Connery Act also known as the National Labor Relations Act gave workers the right to join and form unions and collective bargaining. John Lewis expressed his support of workers' new rights on a radio broadcast in 1936. Unemployment rates appeared to decrease between the 1930 and 1940 which were the years of FDR's presidency.

The New Deal had a beneficial effect on the conditions of the black population and women. Women suffered from unemployment which caused them to struggle in order to provide for their families. Like African Americans, they were one of the first to get fired. Females were often denied employment for certain jobs that required competition with men and seldom received promotions. Blacks also possessed a low position in society. Black farmers lost their property and were forced to move away. However, both groups gained employment by the Works Progress Administration and the National Recovery Act. Frances Perkins became the first woman to hold a cabinet position as secretary of labor. The first black federal judge was appointed and blacks were delegates to the Democratic National Convention for the first time in history. Meridel Lesueur expressed her support for women who were forced to undergo hunger, homelessness, and hunger in 1932. An editorial entitled "The Roosevelt Record" in 1940 told how the government had given African Americans meaning and substance for the first time.

The federal government became more involved with the U.S.'s domestic problems by establishing laws that met the needs of the people.The Social Security Act created a trust fund that employers and employees contributed to. Once an individual became 65 years of age, they were allowed to retire and receive payments every month. People with disabilities, those unemployed, and dependent mothers were also included in this act. Taxes were restructured by placing a higher income tax on the wealthy and on capital gains. The Rural Electrification Administration was made to give electricity to rural communities. The Resettlement Administration gave assistance to farmers and sharecroppers which were a part of the agrarian sector of the economy.

To conclude, the programs established by the New Deal required the federal government to use a great amount of money in order to accumulate capital for the expansion of the economy. By doing so, FDR's administration was maintaining a capitalist system which was one of its main objectives. Because the government gave more assistance to the people, the entire nation benefited from its actions.

2 Comments:

  • A/B

    Good use of outside info and 4 documents. Do this on the A.P. test and you'll win big points.

    Next time I'd like to see documents spread out throughout the essay. Other than that, good job!

    MB

    By Blogger Garrett Jackson, at 6:05 PM  

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