Analyze the responses of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration to the problems of the Great Depression. How effective were these responses? How did they change the role of the federal government?
Roosevelt's first task upon taking office was to alleviate the panic that was threatening to create chaos in the financial system. He did so in part by force of personality and in part by constructing very rapidly an ambitious and diverse program of legislation.
Much of Roosevelt's success was a result of his cheerful personality. Beginning with his inaugural address- in which he assured the American people that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"- he projected an infectious optimism that helped alleviate the growing despair. With the use of his "brain trusts," FDR was able to draw up a series of significant reforms. Roosevelt was able to expand the size and power of the federal government. Through Social security, minimum wage, banking regulation, anti-monopoly regulation, farm support, and support for public works, Roosevelt redefined the relationship between the government and the people. [Document E] The government was now involved in every aspect of people's lives, and more people would turn to the federal government for help. The New Deal restored people's faith in themselves and in the government. FDR's New Deal Legislation received opposition. People were accused of being socialists and communists. People believed that it was against the stimulation of business, which ultimately would create unemployment. In a letter to Senator Robert Wagner, it is stated that this new legislation will end in "disaster." [Document B]. Specifically, the NIRA, the cornerstone of FDR's administration, proved to be ineffective because it was deemed unconstitutional. The NIRA tried to stabilize the economy by attempting to prevent extreme competition, labor management problems, and overproduction. A board composed of industrial and labor leaders set minimum...
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