Franklin D. Roosevelt has been a pivotal figure in American history. He was there for America when it needed him most and changed forever the role of the Federal Government in American society. Although the Great Depression left many scarred, the New Deal revolutionized American politics. Under his leadership, the President was able to expand his duties to include legislative power (draftering policy) in addition to the traditional executive powers. The United States became an international trading superpower and champion for freedom. The domestic laissez -faire approach was abandoned in favor of a functioning welfare state. His projects had a significant impact on America’s 1930s- 1940s. They also left a lasting legacy which was further extended by Eisenhower (Truman), Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Johnson. FDR’s New Deal program was the foundation of the period he led. The New Deal had a huge impact on the American economy, both before and after WWII. It remained an influential force for many decades. The New Deal had profound political and socio-economic effects. The New Deal coalition was a product of Roosevelt’s era. It kept the Democrats in power almost 50 years.
First, let’s examine the short-term effectiveness of Roosevelt’s policies. He immediately closed all banks after assuming office and quickly introduced the Emergency Banking Relief Bill. This bill authorized federal money to support private banks that were damaged by the Depression. It is evident that this piece was a long-lasting and immediate effect as shown in Figure 25.1, Page 719. The number of bank failures has dropped from 4000kilo to under 200 since the bill’s introduction. They have been at that level ever since. The National Industrial Recovery Act was established to control competition and to maintain a balance between growth rates of wages and prices. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) was also introduced to aid farmers hardest hit by the Depression. The government would subsidise farmers who had agreed to lower their production in order to raise farm prices. As you can see, the government would subsidize farmers who agreed to reduce their production. This is illustrated in Figure 25.1, Page 719. The Second New Deal saw the introduction of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, which included billions in deficit spending for numerous construction projects to lower unemployment rates. It also created several agencies such as the Resettlement Administration. The Rural Electrification Administration and National Youth Administration. All of these were intended to help young people and remote communities. The Act funded the largest program, the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This agency employed millions of Americans to build low-scale infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads and parks. The Public Works Administration was established, which lent several billions to large construction projects, such as dams and airports. This Act appears to have had a temporary effect on reducing unemployment as illustrated in Figure 25.1, pages 719. The Social Security Act was also introduced, which established a federal system for providing social welfare to American citizens. This legacy continues today. The New Deal was a positive influence on the American economic, even though it didn’t resolve all the crises. According to the text, the New deal “changed America’s West more than any other place” because of federally sponsored dam-building and other public work projects that reshaped America’s economy. The West’s citizens also saw new federal activism. The federal policy towards Native Americans, particularly those living on Indian reservations, has been disastrous over the past decades. The Indian Reorganization Act helped to end forced assimilation, and restored tribal ownership of Indian lands. The act also recognized tribal governments as federally recognized. The New Deal also had an impact on the South. The Tennessee Valley Authority promoted economic development and helped rural areas get electricity. They also restored overused fields and combated the curse of malaria.
The New Deal’s impact on American society was not limited to its economic and social benefits. It also launched a new era of big government, constant government interference in domestic affairs, and a new era of government interdependence. Franklin D. Roosevelt built a coalition that included progressives of both the political spectrum: farmers, blue-collar workers and intellectuals. The coalition was also called the “New Deal Coalition” and had an enormous influence on policy-making in America. It set the standard for all subsequent administrations. We can see that Roosevelt’s New Deal was used as a foundation in their policy-making by Lyndon Johnson (1965-1969). The new deal was also an inspiration to many Republican Presidents. President Eisenhower stated that “it is almost impossible” to repeal the New Deal policies and not hurt many Americans. This coalition of New Deal members is the solution for the Democratic Party’s dominance, which lasted for nearly fifty years. It was stated in Duedney that “while it is clear Truman Kennedy, Johnson and Johnson were the heirs, Eisenhower as well Nixon have more commonalities with their Democratic contemporaries” and with FDR. . . It is easy to forget that American politics has been fractious, with many people trying to take sides. The New Deal Order at home and abroad was at the center of American politics.
Roosevelt presented Americans a second bill of rights in his 1944 State of the Union speech. This declared government’s obligation to provide welfare for its citizens was the core of postwar liberalism. In the wake of Roosevelt’s death, Vice President Truman was elected President. He was determined to continue the New Deal policies. This included preserving the federal government’s role in providing welfare and increasing government’s control over the economy. His domestic program was called the “Fair Deal.” Despite the strong opposition of radical conservatives and his inability to gain popularity because of the Korean War, Truman never achieved his goals. He did manage to implement some of his liberal agenda. He ended military segregation and banned racial discrimination when hiring. Roosevelt drafted the GI legislation, and Truman put it into practice. It was yet another piece in legislation that highlighted the government’s involvement during this period. The text states that the GI bill was successful in keeping the demobilized veterans out of the workplace. It provided year-long unemployment benefits that allowed veterans to gradually transition into civilian work and paid stipends for college tuition. As a result, there was a rise in the number of technically-trained and well-educated workers.