Visions of The New Deal and Civil Rights
Despite many dissatisfied Americans, the national mood was mixed as the 1932 election approached. Many discouraged Americans had blamed themselves for their economic hardships. Other unemployed Americans felt the deeper frustrations of the nation’s economic hardships. Regardless of their circumstances, most Americans believed that something completely new had to be tried. The Republicans unenthusiastically renominated Hoover, while the Democrats turned to New York governor Franklin Roosevelt. The Democrats won the 1932 election and Franklin Roosevelt was elected as president (The Election of 1932). Roosevelt won with his personal charm and willingness to experiment.
Elected in November, Roosevelt would not begin his presidency until March 1933. Meanwhile, Americans suffered through the worst winter of depression. Unemployment continued to climb, and in three major industrial cities in Ohio, it was staggering, from 50 percent to 80 percent (Henretta, James A.). Even with the help from private charities and public relief agencies, the needy were hardly helped at all. The nation’s banking system was so close to collapsing that many state governors closed banks temporarily to avoid further withdrawals. At this time, the nation had hit rock bottom. The ideas between Hoover and Roosevelt were not much different. Both wished to maintain the nation’s economy and to save capitalism. They also believed in a balanced government budget and praised the values of hard work, and sacrifice. Roosevelt’s willingness to experiment made him more popular and more effective than Hoover. His New Deal programs put people to work and restored hope for the nation’s future. Roosevelt’s New Deal shocked Americans because it was so different from anything presented by other presidents. His close relationship with the American people was critical to his political success. Roosevelt’s use of the radio, especially his “fireside chats,” made him a special presence by comforting millions of Americans (The Fireside Chats). In Roosevelt’s “Hundred Days,” Congress enacted fifteen bills that focused on four problems that focused on banking failures, agricultural overproduction, the business slump, and unemployment.
The New Deal had an immense impact on American’s lives. Its principles of social welfare liberalism transformed Americans’ relationship with the government and provided assistance to the unemployed, the elderly, workers, and racial minorities. During the New Deal labor unions increased because of the Wagner Act, which upheld the right of industrial workers to join unions. These labor unions began to take political action, as well as beginning an alliance with the Democratic Party. The ultimate goal of the separation of public aid and social insurance was that social policy must either effectively incorporate social and cultural values that relate to the evaluation of individuals or use programs to create common social and political interests among large groups of dissimilar people. The separation of social insurance and public aid in the American model segregated the poor and marginal people in the work force from social programs. The separation also created a class that was dependent on programs that were less than generously funded and always seemed to be at the center of controversy. The losers in this American policy model were women, children, and people of color, because they all had a lower probability of having their needs well met by work-based social insurance (National Labor Relations Act (1935)).
The banking system was the nation’s economic backbone, which soon failed, causing consumer spending and business investment to decrease. Widespread bank failures had cut into the savings of nearly nine million families. Bank failures also had account holders race to withdraw their funds. Roosevelt’s main focus was to tackle the nation’s economy and...
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