The Great Depression and Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal

Topics: New Deal, Franklin D. Roosevelt, National Industrial Recovery Act Pages: 6 (1562 words) Published: May 28, 2009
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IB History Of The Americas

Ms. Foster (B)

23 March 2007

The Great Depression

Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and the depression relief scheme of Brazil's Getulio Vargas were in some ways similar, but also in some ways different. Vargas's and Roosevelt's measures imparted to ordinary citizens, in most cases for the first time, the premise that government cared about them and would defend their interests. They were both created to try to get their country out of the depression and satisfy the needs of the ordinary citizen. However, these two leaders had some different ideas on how to do this.

Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal consisted of essentially two types of reforms; social and economic. One of the most important of his economic reforms was the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. The purpose of this act was to get people back permanently so they would be able to buy more goods which would simulate industry and help the economy to function normally again. Included in this act was the introduction of the Public Works Administration which provided money for the building of useful public works including dams, bridges, hospitals, roads, schools, and government buildings. The most important part of building all these things was it created several million extra jobs.

Another important part of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 was it set up the National Recovery Administration which abolished child labor, introduced a minimum wage and an eight-hour working day, and helped to create more employment. These rules were not mandatory, but employers were pressured to accept them and those

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who did were allowed to put an official sticker on their goods showing a blue eagle and the letters NRA which showed consumers they complied with these new rules. Even

though they weren't mandatory, the response was outstanding, with well over two-million employers accepting these new standards.

Another very important economic reform included in Roosevelt's New Deal was the Farmers' Relief Act. This act tried to help farmers whose main problem was that goods were still being over-produced which in turn was keeping prices and profits low. "Under this act, the government paid compensation to farmers who reduced output, thereby raising prices." (Lowe, 390). This act was very successful and by 1937 the average income of farmers had almost doubled.

Roosevelt knew that it was very important to get the banking and financial systems back up and working properly. To do this, the government temporarily took over the banks with the guarantee that depositors would not lose all their money if there was another financial crisis. By doing this confidence was restored and money began to flow through the banks again. The Securities Exchange Commission of 1934 was given the job of reforming the stock exchange. It insisted that people buying shares on credit must make a down-payment of at least 50 per cent instead of the meager 10 per cent it was before the depression.

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was another very important part of Roosevelt's New Deal. This administration helped to provide further relief and recovery. One of its biggest contributions was it provided $500 million for dole money and soup

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kitchens. The Works Progress Administration, which was founded in 1935, funded a variety of public projects such as schools, hospitals, and roads. It was a lot like the

Public Works Administration, however its projects were on a much smaller scale. Also, relief came for many playwrights, artists, actors, musicians, and circus performers in the form of the Federal Theater Project, which created jobs for them. In addition to giving many jobs, the Federal Theater Project helped to increase public appreciation of the arts.

Another economic reform that was included in Roosevelt's New Deal was the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority. This new authority helped to...

Cited: Levine, Robert M. Vargas 's Incomplete Revolution: Part I., 2001.
Lowe, Norman. The USA Before The Second War.
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