The Roosevelt Era
Franklin D. Roosevelt became the thirty-second president of the U.S. in 1933. He was one of the most skillful political leaders and it showed as he led the people out of the Great Depression. The U.S. was in a state of depression when Roosevelt took office, but through his New Deal program, the federal government became much more involved socially and economically in peoples' lives in contrast to its traditionally passive role. The government's responsibilities in peoples' lives changed and individuals' responsibilities changed too. The role of the government in peoples' lives expanded greatly during the New Deal era.
When Roosevelt took office, his main goal was to provide relief for the country. He thought there were three key elements to getting out of the depression: relief, recovery, and reform. As part of his relief program, he passed the Federal Emergency Relief Act which authorized half of a billion dollars for relief to be distributed through the states and municipalities. Roosevelt emphasized the two most controversial pieces of legislation which became the heart of the recovery program: the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) and the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). The main purposes of the AAA were to subsidize farmers while trying to reduce crippling agricultural surpluses. The AAA provided payments to farmers in return for agreements to cut down the acreage of their production. This would help get rid of the surpluses of food. However, the act was declared unconstitutional in 1936. But, in 1938, after several changes, a second Agricultural Adjustment Act was passed. The government also lent money to farmers to enable them to withhold crops from the market when prices were low to store their produce for poor crop years. Roosevelt didn't waste any time after he took office to pass bills and try and bring the country out of the Great Depression. It was evident that the government's responsibilities were expanding and becoming part of peoples' lives.
Soon after taking office, Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). The NIRA was a single program, but there were numerous sub-programs under the act. It was designed to satisfy the conflicting pressure groups and 3.3 billion dollars were used for it. Roosevelt set up the National Recovery Administration (NRA) in hope of stabilizing the economy by reducing unemployment, paying decent wages to workers so they could purchase products, limiting overproduction so prices would rise to a profitable level, and eliminating cutthroat competition. This law also contained a provision that guaranteed labor the right to collective bargaining. There were a lot of goals to be reached and it would difficult to accomplish them, but Roosevelt felt it was necessary for the recovery of society. Guidelines for codes of the above goals were to be arrived at jointly by representatives of management, labor, and the public....