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In 1929, the Stock Market crashed, sending Americans into a panic. Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the presidential election of 1932, restoring people’s faith with his promise to end the Great Depression with his New Deal. FDR’s programs in the New Deal failed to end the Great Depression and harmed Americans’ future by causing debt even though the reform of the New Deal ended up being positive.
The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was passed by Congress in 1933 to authorize the President to change the industries so he could quicken the economic recovery. According to Document D, Franklin Roosevelt’s inaugural address in 1933 states that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. He and the government were going to fix all issues with the New Deal, which NIRA was part of. The NIRA was determined unconstitutional in May 1935, furthering the unsuccessfulness of the project. On May 18, 1933, FDR signed the Tennessee Valey Authority Act. The new organization fixed many problems such as flooding, providing electricity to homes and businesses, and replanting forests. This insertion of immediate helped many people and upheld the morale of the New Deal. Today, TVA is one of the largest public power companies in the world with its success still providing for Americans today. The Homeowners Loan Cooperation went into effect on June 13, 1933. It provided mortgage assistance to homeowners by providing them money or refinancing mortgages. The Corporation lent money to those who were going to have their homes foreclosed on. This was another form of immediate relief, stopping homelessness to millions of people. HOLC was terminated in 1951 after about 800,000 people were able to repay their debt.
In 1933 the Agriculture Adjustment Act (AAA) was passed as part of FDR’s New Deal. The law offered farmers subsidies in exchange for limiting their production of certain crops. Clifford K. Berryman made a picture comic named, “New Deal Remedies,” on January 5, 1934. The subsidies were meant to limit overproduction so that crop prices could increase. The New Deal had the right idea to fix farm poverty and farm prices, but overall it did not fix the issues at hand and the turmoil of the farm industry.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) provided jobs to million through construction building, paving roads, and tree planting which was all part of FDR’s New Deal. Raymond Kraus, a worker with the CCC, 1934, wrote a poem to FDR called “What Might Have Been” Americans prospered in the CCC, receiving self-accomplishment and hope. Though it employed 3 million men, this organization did not end unemployment. The Works Progress Administartion (WPA) was created in 1935 to employ men and women by carrying out public work projects. Document A shows us a picture of a Migrant Mother taken by Dorothea Lang in 1936. WPA paid people to do what they were good at, supplying thousands of jobs. This did not end the severe unemployment and was discontinued on June 30, 1943, due to a drop in unemployment as WWII created jobs.
On August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act made a system of benefits for workers, victims of industrial accidents, mothers and children, the physically handicapped, and the blind. This act provided a steady stream of income lost by those retiring, resulting in economic security. Social Security is one of the most effective and successful programs that continued from the reform of the Great Depression. FDR created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Act of 1933 to help stop the Great Depression. The FDIC insured their costumers’ money up to $5000 that they would take from money collected from many banks. The FDIC helps to prevent more bank panics and future depressions and keep public confidence in the United States financial system. This program still exists today and protects up to $250,000 successfully. The Social Security Act created a Social Security Board (SSB), to look over the administration of the new program in 1963. The Print and Photograph Division, Library of Congress, 1935 (Document F) shows a photo titled, “A monthly check to you-”. The SSB kept the economy stable through close observation of social security activity. This is one of the successful long term fixes of reform during the Great Depression.
Relief programs both helped and hurt the United States. The TVA is a successful form of relief still used today, whereas the NIRA was unconstitutional and hurt Americans more than it did to help them. The HOLC was temporarily helpful, though it didn’t last long. The CCC, AAA, and WPA all failed to put an end to unemployment and pushed the United States further into debt though their accomplishments still help us today. Document H, Unemployment in the Great Depression, shows that employment continued to decline from 1933 to 1937. WWII spiked employment rates, having nothing to do with the New Deal. Roosevelt’s plan for reform was executed through the SSA, FDIC, and SSB which are all long-living successes of the Great Depression.
Overall, The New Deal provided temporary relief that did not impact America in a healthy way, pushing the United Stated $22 billion dollars into debt. People were not truly able to recover, 15 million people were still unemployed with the fruitless attempts to help the economy and morale of Americans. The Social Security Act was one of the leading successful acts of the Great Depression, helping millions of people and balancing the flow of income, ultimately ending in a positive result from the New Deal.
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