Franklin D. Roosevelt and The New Deal
Franklin D. Roosevelt and New Deal
As one of the greatest Presidents in the American history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) saved the U.S. from the Great Depression by carrying out his famous "A New Deal." But criticism of FDR's New Deal has never stopped since the day it was created. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in his article "FDR was overrated" notes that "…government spending revived economic activity under Roosevelt has had extremely damaging consequences for the rest of the 20th century."(Evans-Pritchard, 24) William J. Barber also complains that FDR's New Deal gave American a "big government legacy". Do these words really tell the truth about what happened in 1930's? Is it fair to FDR's great attempt to help the nation recover from the Great Depression?
To answer these questions we should have some basic background knowledge of FDR himself. Franklin D. Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York on January 30, 1882. In the year 1903, he finished his law study at Columbia University and practiced law with a prominent New York City law firm. He entered politics in 1910 and was elected to the New York State Senate as a Democrat from his traditionally Republican home district. In 1905, he had married a distant cousin, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was reelected to the State Senate in 1912. In 1928 Roosevelt was elected governor. Following his reelection as governor in 1930, Roosevelt began to campaign for the presidency. His activist approach and personal charm helped to defeat Hoover in November 1932 by seven million votes. Roosevelt easily defeated Alfred M. Landon in 1936 and went on to defeat by lesser margins, Wendell Willkie in 1940 and Thomas E. Dewey in 1944. He thus became the only American president to serve more than two terms. During a vacation at Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945 FDR suffered a massive stroke and died two and one-half hours later without regaining consciousness. He was 63 years old. FDR was buried in the Rose Garden of his estate at Hyde Park, New York.
"A New Deal" is what FDR promised voters in the fall of 1932, three years after the crash of stock prices of Wall Street had signaled the onset of the Great Depression. It included several laws Congress began enacting just days after FDR took office in the first week of March 1933. It was America's national response to the Great Depression. It also "dramatically reshaped politics, presidential power, and the role of the federal government in the economy of the United States of America"(Edsforth 1), which was considered to be the most controversial part of the New Deal.
Most of the criticism of the New Deal relates to the first 100 days. In fact, some critics even argued that the New Deal is a plan without careful consideration, a program that put the U.S. into a big risky experiment. It is true that FDR could not predict the whole idea of the New...