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The New Deal - Essay Example

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The New Deal was the title that US President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the programs and promises he pursued in 1933-1938. It aimed to give relief to the poor, reform the financial system, and recover from the economic degradation caused by the Great Depression…
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The New Deal

24). This period was also the start of complex social programs and signaled the wider acceptance of trade unions in the United States.
The New Deal policy was triggered by the initial crash for the US stock market, which occurred on October 24, 1929 followed by October 29 "Black Tuesday" in which the stock market fell even more than it had the week before. These events catapulted into a worldwide economic depression (Chandler 1970). This economic depression was manifested in the US through a 4 percent to 25 percent increase in unemployment incidence, alongside reduction of manufacturing output by approximately a third. Due to deflation of currency values, prices fell, making the repayment of debts much harder. The drop in values of the mining, lumber, and agriculture industries caused these items to drop as well. The impact of the depression was however not as severe in white collar and service sectors.
"Throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people. This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms."
Roosevelt formed the "Brain Trust," a group of academic advisers whose formation was aimed at assisting in his recovery efforts. Extensive government intervention in the economy was sought instead of allowing laissez faire to run its course (Chandler 1970). Some vocal conservative opposition attacks were faced by the New Deal, such as the American Liberty League led by democrats, particularly the 1924 and 1928 presidential candidates John W. Davis and Al Smith. There was also a large group of New Deal opponents called "Old Right," led by politicians, intellectuals, writers, and newspaper editors (Chandler 1970).

This first New Deal of 1933 had goals of short-term recovery programs based on the assumption that the federal government headed by Roosevelt can solve the financial problems. Some of the policies promoted and implemented by the Roosevelt government are banking reform laws, emergency relief programs, agricultural programs, and work relief programs (Chandler 1970). Many organized liberal groups gained much of what they demanded, except the Socialist Party, which was practically destroyed. The First New Deal was described as a mixture of self-contradiction, experiment, and pragmatism (Chandler 1970). Eventually, the economy recovered form the low point of 1932, sustaining the improving until 1937 when the Recession of 1937 regained the 1934 levels of unemployment. Economists and historians disputed the concept of the New Deal being responsible for the economic recovery (Chandler 1970).

The New Deal was critiqued by several historians and Barton Bernstein spoke of the so-called 'conservative achievements' of liberal reform due to its inadequacies. Howard Zinn also gave considerable emphasis to flaws, limits, and conservative stances but failed, among others, in providing theoretical framework for understanding the New Deal (Foner 1997, p. 143). ... Read More
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