In 1929, The Great Depression seized America. The country wallowed for four years in
desperation, until a new leader was elected. Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to the presidency in 1933 focused and with a plan like never before. His so called “New Deal” was the innovation of policy at the time, and the public responded in turn. The country seemed to be on the steady process to recovery. The twelve years of desperation from 1929 to 1941 changed the face of America today. While kissing away college scholarships and hours at my government-sponsored after-school job, I had a revelation like a concertgoer at the ’69 Woodstock (minus the LSD): these two defining periods of American history were simultaneously changing my life despite the eighty years difference in that moment. As we continue on our own path to what we hope will repair the shards of our shattered American capitalism, I wondered if my faith in President Obama’s plan was justified. The similarities between the 2009 recovery and the New Deal were immense, and I sought my answer through analyzing Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response to an even greater economic plight. Economists still debate the true success of the New Deal and the resounding impact it had on the country. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies eventually succeeded in rebuilding the American economy to functionality and its legacy is still proving effective in today’s modern economic dilemmas.
In the 1920’s the United States was on the road to recovery. Having survived World War I and now an established international powerhouse, the U.S. economy was becoming a lion in world economics. The American stock market had risen to new heights, and had become a central force in the American economy. However, like a child with sugar and climbing a tree, this proved to be more of a demon than a blessing. An article published in the New York Times on March 24, 1929 described the credit frenzy of the decade:
…the number of brokerage accounts had doubled in the past two years [1927-1929]. . . .
It is quite true that the people who know the least about the stock market have made the most money out of it in the last few months. Fools who rushed in where wise men feared to tread ran up high gains. (Norris)
This article was the doomsday prophecy that soon came true. The stock market suffered through scrapes and scratches in the months that followed, dipping for weeks at a time then rallying back to a lesser average than before. A mere six months after the article appeared in the New York Times the credit that American stockholders were consuming ran out. The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiraled out of control over the course of two days, crashing 12.8 percent on October 28 and an additional plummet of 11.7 percent the next day; the day that became to be known as Black Tuesday. (Norris)
This crash and burn was not exactly a zombie apocalypse, but it was the pivotal turning point in the U.S. economy’s road to hard times;...