The New Deal: Did It End the Great Depression?

Topics: New Deal, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Great Depression Pages: 5 (1669 words) Published: February 17, 2014
American History
30 September 2012

The New Deal Helped end the Great Depression
The New Deal had a primary role in helping end the Great Depression, but it didn’t actually end the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic collapse in the decade after World War II. The stock market crashed in October of 1929, causing stockholders to lose billions of dollars. Banks shortly started closing and people lost their savings, causing people to have no money or jobs. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in office from 1933 to 1945, had a plan to help end the Great Depression and get people back on their feet, called the New Deal. The New Deal helped youth agencies and income distribution, provided everyone with medical attention, and produced programs to help people recover from the Great Depression hardships.

The New Deal helped youth agencies pick up and provide jobs and support for the children affected by the Great Depression and unemployment. Although the Roosevelt administration eventually came to respond to the plight of the young, it did so quietly, after first subsuming it within the vast, amorphous problem of “unemployment.” There were obvious needs for the youth of society during the economic collapse during the 19th century. Children needed jobs in order to collect an income to nurture themselves, but also their family. The Great Depression threatened the futures of tens of millions of Americans, but perhaps none so enduringly as the young. The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps aided youth before 1935 in the course of helping such causes as college budgets and conservation. For example, it aided 250,000 young (eighteen to twenty-five), mostly urban men in 1933, the mean worked mostly at bucolic tasks that were noncompetitive with adult labor and ill-suited to prepare them for industrialized work. By February 1934, the New Deal authorized the FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) to provide one hundred thousand college students the part time jobs they needed to remain in school. Later the student-aid programs of FERA extended its services to high school students, aiding 390,000 in the first year. These programs provided the proper services to youth that were needed during the time, and would later help them get jobs in their future (Reiman).

The Great Depression and the New Deal had a paradoxical effect on the distribution of income in the United States. On one level, even though the incomes of the rich declined precipitously as the economy fell apart, the Depression exacerbated economic inequality by increasing the numbers of the poor. This not only reiterates the fact that the Great Depression didn’t only affect the poorest of the poor, but the richest of the rich, obviously the impact differed based on how wealthy the people were. During the 1920’s, income inequality widened rapidly, and during the early years of the Depression, the distribution of incomes became more dispersed as poverty spread, reaching its peak for the century. Even though, income distribution was getting worse throughout the early 1900’s, it was soon to somewhat bounce back. In the 1930s income inequality began to decline, and during World War II it narrowed rapidly. After the war, the distribution of incomes remained fairly stable, though it continued to narrow slightly throughout the postwar economic expansion. In the Revenue Act of 1935 (otherwise known as “wealth tax”), President Roosevelt sought to meet these populist critics. The law boosted the top personal income tax rate from 63 to 79 percent, expanded estate taxes, and increased the corporate income tax to fall more heavily on large corporation. This clearly didn’t make the wealthier people happy, but it was helping a lot of people out in very diverse and indirect ways. Roosevelt’s willingness to change the tax system in response to mass political pressure and to levy taxes on the incomes of rich helped make it possible to use the progressive...
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