Analyze the response of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration to the problems of the Great Depression. How effective were these responses? How did they change the role of the federal government? The first order of Franklin D. Roosevelt was to declare war on the Great Depression. In the first one hundred days alone, Roosevelt had one of the most active presidencies America had seen in decades. Roosevelt focused on three major things: relief, recovery and reform.
He changed the attitude of the government form laissez faire to determined and purposeful.His efforts to pull America out of the depression were unwavering and relentless as he constructed numerous organizations that would lead America to economic success. At times Roosevelt’s policies seemed very socialistic and were not favored by the public “The New Deal, being both a philosophy and a mode of action, began to find expression in diverse forms which were often contradictory. ”. In the end, he only had the best interests of the country in mind.
In the first hundred days of the Roosevelt administration there were many support systems organized for people under the poverty line.One type of these organizations were thought of as relief programs. They were designed to give direct aid to the citizens. FDR put it as “priming the economic pump”. One of the best examples of this was the CCC: Civilians Conservation Crop. It provided jobs to over 3 million men.
These men were put to work planting trees and doing other manual works jobs in the forests of Maine. Roosevelt used a very strategic method to gain the support of the people for other organizations like the CCC. Roosevelt took advantage of the growing media and created fireside chats.These were radio shows where he explained and gained support for his programs. FERA was an organization put in place by FDR.
This set the precedent for a program that we still have today; welfare. This program hands out money to people that are below the poverty line. Roosevelt tried to hide these socialistic tendencies by giving the money to cities in block grants and then having the cities distribute the money to the citizens. “It seems very apparent to me that the Administration at Washington is accelerating it’s pace towards socialism and communism”(Doc B).Although there were many relief programs unemployment was still very high. In addition, many of these programs would not employ or aid African Americans.
The same thing happened with many women as well. “... there must be as many women out of jobs in cities and suffering in extreme poverty as there are men. What happens to them? ”(Doc A).
Another technique that Roosevelt used to gain support for his programs was the court house packing. This was the idea that for every supreme court judge over 70 Roosevelt should be able to add one new member.This is said to be an empty threat from Roosevelt but it was effective in frightening the supreme court judges into passing his New Deal legislation; social security. The social security program was very socialistic and would give back handouts of money to people working for a salary after they retire. “A monthly check to you! ” (Doc E).
Social security was a reform program that was intended to prevent a depression from happening again. It is no secret that the economy was badly damaged during the Great Depression.One of the first things that FDR did to correct these conditions was have a bank holiday. This was when all banks closed for 4 days. Roosevelt hired bank auditors to find the banks that were still solvent.
He pumped money into these banks and closed the rest. This put trust back into the banks and people would invest money in them again. FDR created the Glass-Steagull Act which insured everyones money up to 5,000 dollars if there bank goes under. Roosevelt also put in place SEC; the Security Exchange Commission.This was a program designed to regulate the stock market and eliminate illegal acticity.
The New Deal created a change in the economic system of America (Doc C). The idea of Keynesian economics lead FDR through his presidency and stimulated the economy. Many people were against the idea of Keynesian economics because they believed the government was over stepping their boundaries. “The authority of the federal government may not be pushed to such an extreme”(Doc F) FDR changed the government into an active, resourceful system that created the government that we have today.During this time period our government shifted from capitalism to more socialistic. The programs that were enacted during this time period eventually pulled us our of the Great Depression.
Roosevelt also enacted programs to prevent another depression from happening again. This set America up to be known as the greatest world super power. “The government as an instrument of democratic action in the future has also been strengthened and renovated”(Doc H).