World War Ii: An Answer To The Great Depression

2218 words - 9 pages

The Great Depression era was a dark moment in history for American economic history, however often times we overlook the tremendous response from our federal government. President Roosevelt used the power of the presidency to pass several monumental pieces of economic legislation such as the Emergency Banking Act and the Glass-Steagall Act. Roosevelt’s administration also passed legislation that formulated various social programs such as the Public Works Program and the Federal Housing Authority. These programs were largely focused on providing temporary relief for American citizens. Furthermore, many Americans were employed to construct parks, roads, and bridges. World War II also played a big part in stimulating the American economy during this time period. Citizens at home were able to work on machinery and other military accessories to supply the troops during the war. Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration brought America through the most difficult economic time in its history and they ushered in pragmatic progressive economic policies.
The Great Depression of the 1930s was a culmination of disastrous economic events that resulted in the worst economic period in American history. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 is seen as the beginning of the economic downward spiral. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 was caused by a lack of regulation in the financial industry, investors aggressively buying on margin, and overvalued stocks due to market manipulation. Although this event occurred in 1929, Roosevelt ultimately had to address the problems as a result of the crash because President Herbert Hoover was seen as “not doing enough” and lost the election to Roosevelt in 1932. The Great Depression also featured skyrocketing unemployment during the peak of the period. At the height of the Great Depression unemployment hit upwards of 25 percent. Robert Kenneth Straus states in his work, “The disappearance of purchasing power because of unemployment and loss of savings is the first major problem the “new deal” must unravel” . Straus affirms that the first major problem that Roosevelt’s administration needed to fix was the unemployment and the financial industry.
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was given permission to lend capital to private companies to allow low income families to purchase a home through credit. The RFC was initially instituted by the Hoover Administration, but was carried over by President Roosevelt. Although the RFC’s principle goal was good for the economy, the program was not provided enough leeway to make a sweeping impact on families across America. As a result, Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Federal Housing Act of 1934. Mcgrattan stated, “However, these efforts did little to assist individual homebuyers. The average home loan at that time required very short-term credit, with terms generally ranging from three to five years. Large down payments, second mortgages, and high interest rates were...

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