Franklin Delano Roosevelt And The "New Deal"

1752 words - 7 pages

QUESTION FROM INSTRUCTOR:Reform movements and impulses had had a long, albeit sometimes checkered, history in the United States by the time Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised Americans a "new deal" during the 1932 election campaign. This essay focuses on the effectiveness and realism of the New Deal as domestic reform policy.First, what were FDR's beliefs about the role of American government in domestic affairs? As the federal government's highest elected official, what did he believe to be his responsibilities within that context?Second, discuss at least four examples of New Deal policy (may be from any of the legislation passed from 1933-1940) which reflects his beliefs/approach. Be sure to explain how your legislative examples altered the role of the American government in daily life and what Americans thought about the changes.Last, in the end, did his New Deal truly represent a dramatic departure from the ideals of the progressive movement, or did it represent a continuation of that earlier movement and why/why not? Be sure to consider aims, results, motivations, and the reformers themselves when comparing the two reform agendas.MY RESPONSE:When Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president, on March 4, 1933, the Great Depression was at its worst. Sixteen million or more people were unemployed, and many had been out of work for a year or even longer. The American banking system had collapsed. Whether Americans would be satisfied with the new leadership depended on Roosevelt's success in bringing aid to those in distress and in achieving some measure of economic improvement.Roosevelt's first said, wanting to make war upon the depression, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." This brought a new style to the U.S. presidency. Roosevelt was confident, both in himself as a leader and in the American people. His liking for people came through to them over the radio and in the press.First:Roosevelt believed in work relief, or payment for work performed, rather than the dole, a simple payment without any work requirement. Although he felt that work relief would help to maintain the confidence, self-esteem, and spirits of the recipients, work projects took time to plan and were far more costly to administer than the simple dole. When Roosevelt took office, he felt that his basic problem was how to bring about economic recovery. He accepted government responsibility for improving the economy. Franklin Roosevelt had been a reformer, a believer in progress and in government-sponsored social and economic change; from the time he first took public office in 1911. The reform impulse in America had been frustrated since the 1918 election victories by conservative politicians, who believed that government should not be involved in social reform. Now that idea was brought back in the Great Depression by President Roosevelt, often under pressure from congressional liberals, who were concerned with the development of personal freedom and social...

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