Franklin Roosevelt's First New Deal

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What were the goals of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First New Deal? “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. President Franklin D. Roosevelt uttered those words to reassure the American people when assuming the Presidency at the darkest hour of the Great Depression. Born into a wealthy New York family, FDR attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. Inspired by his fifth cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR entered politics early in his life becoming senator at the age of 28, then the governor of New York before finally becoming President in 1932. He was the 32nd President of the US. FDR worked determinedly and tirelessly to get the US out of depression and bring back hope into the lives of the American people. He attempted this by a series of programs and acts known as his ‘First New Deal’. FDR’s New Deal was an attempt to deliver relief, recovery, and reform. Relief meaning the initial action taken to halt the financial deterioration, recovery meaning provisional programs that would go towards recovering from the Great Depression, and reform meaning stable programs designed to avoid another depression. This essay will look at two things; some of the programs/acts etc. that Franklin D. Roosevelt created as part of his New Deal and whether they were successful in accomplishing his overall goal of obtaining the three R’s-Relief, Recovery and Reform in the United States. Before FDR exceeded Herbert Hoover as President of the US, the people of America were in general extremely disappointed with the crumbling economy, mass unemployment, diminishing wages, and Hoover’s policies, especially the Revenue Act of 1932 which raised US tax rates. FDR entered office with a lot of pressure which required immediate positive action. Roosevelt responded swiftly with a series of programs within his first 100 days in office. He met frequently with Congress trying to help America get out of the depression, avoid the same mistakes in the future, and grow stronger economically and as a nation. Roosevelt addressed the American public and explained his goals and what he hoped to achieve while in office. Before FDR could start recovery plans for the US he had to put a stop to the declining economy. Depositing money in a savings account carried a great deal of risk in the past. When a bank had made bad investments and was forced to close, people who didn’t withdraw their money quickly enough were unlucky and lost it. When depositors feared a bank was unstable, news spread quickly across the country and they began removing their money. This is was the main reason for the collapse of the banks during the Great Depression. In 1929 alone, 659 banks closed and by 1932 an additional 5,102 banks went out of business. Life-savings were lost over night. Bank failures continued in 1933 however FDR knew that fixing the bank failures was the number one priority after being inaugurated and began strategizing to fix the problem. FDR acted quickly by declaring a ‘Bank Holiday’. This meant that banking transactions were suspended across the nation. During this time Congress passed Roosevelt’s Emergency Banking Act which gave the President power through the Treasury Department to reopen banks that were solvent and assist those that were not. Banks were divided into four categories. Amazingly, just over half of the banks were in the first category and were sufficient to reopen. The second category were reopened but were only permitted to give out a percentage of its deposits. The third category were on the verge of collapse so were only permitted to accept deposits and not withdrawals. Five percent of banks were in the final category and were deemed unfit to continue. Before the banks were allowed to reopen, FDR addressed the nation in his first fireside chat and assured sixty million radio listeners that the crisis was over and that the banks were secure. On the first day back, deposits were greater than withdrawals. The bank crisis had finished. On...