Franklin D. Roosevelt
In the 1932 election, the Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt collected 57.4 percent of the popular vote to easily defeat the republican opponent, Herbert Hoover. He strove to be a symbol of confidence and a new hope for the nation, declaring in his inauguration day speech on March 4, 1933, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (Norton, p.727). By incorporating this theory into politics, he attempted to pick America off the ground, and set America back on track with two sets of programs called the First and Second New Deals.
During the first hundred days of his presidency, Roosevelt set forth his plan for national recovery, known as the First New Deal. Designed and administered by Roosevelt's core group of advisors, known as the “Brain Trust” (Leuchtenburg, p.83), the New Deal represented a new era where the government would be able to intervene with the economy. With Democratic majorities in Congress, he was able to push through a large number of measures, making the first hundred days of his presidency an unprecedented period of government action. Roosevelt laid out his strategy for recovery early on, dividing it into three major goals: Banking and Relief for the Jobless, Agricultural Recovery, and Industrial Recovery.
The first problem Roosevelt faced in the business side was with the number of bank closures throughout the nation during the early months of 1933. In response, he called for a four-day national bank holiday (Leuchtenburg, p.85), during which time he met with the heads of many of the nation's suffering banks and developed the Emergency Banking Relief Act, passed March 9. This act provided the framework under which banks could reopen their doors with federal support (McElvaine, p.103). On March 31, Congress passed the Unemployment Relief Act, which also created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a program that employed the poor with public work and services (Leuchtenburg, p.92). April was also a successful month, even though less was successfully passed. May, on the other hand, saw the passing of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which created the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) to distribute federal aid to farmers and controlled farm production. That same day, the most comprehensive relief bill of the New Deal was passed, the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA), appropriating $500 million to support state and local treasuries that had run out of money (Leuchtenburg, p.107). Harry Hopkins was appointed to administer this program. May 18 saw the passing of one of the New Deal's most well known programs, creating the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a plan to develop and conserve the Tennessee Valley, and use its resources for energy purposes (Norton, p.730). The hundred days lasted until June 16, on which date another very important piece of legislature was passed, the National Industrial Recovery Act, which created the National Recovery Administration (NRA) to manage...