About this sample
About this sample
Words: 872 |
5 min read
Published: Aug 14, 2018
Words: 872|Pages: 2|5 min read
President Roosevelt has been widely renown as one of the best presidents in contemporary American history. Many aspects of his “New Deal” are still in effect to date; the Social Security Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. However, even given the legacy of Roosevelt and his New Deal, it was largely unsuccessful in combating unemployment, poverty, and the stagflation that had resulted from the Crash of 1929. Much like Germany, the only thing that was able to fully pull America out of the depression was the military buildup that came with the outbreak of World War II. The U.S.’s massive spending on military buildup helped it once again reach full employment, yet years of government spending on relief programs had failed. However, even if the New Deal was unsuccessful, it still represents a turning point in American economic policy.
Unlike Herbert Hoover, who was extremely laissez faire when it came to the government’s involvement in the economy, Roosevelt exercised changes in fiscal policies, engaged in social and economic reform, and largely restructured the role of the Government in regards to the economy. Prior to Roosevelt, the American economy was widely accepted to be regulated only by economic Darwinism; in essence, that there was no regulation. For most of America’s history, most politicians advocated for “Crash and Boom economics,” in which the market would often switch between growth and decline, and it was believed that issues like unemployment and inflation would eventually “sort themselves out.” What resulted from this policy, or lack thereof, was several major recessions that occurred on average every nine years (Hummel, 2015.) Roosevelt felt the polar opposite; that massive unemployment was the biggest threat to American greatness in the mid 1900’s. He makes this clear in one of his Fireside Chats when he says “This is a great national crusade, a crusade to destroy enforced idleness, which is an enemy of the human spirit generated by this depression (Humphrey-Camardella, 2012.)” His enactment of relief, recovery, and reform paved the way for his predecessors, as he was the first President to deem market regulation to be under the federal government’s jurisdiction.
Another monumentally important success of the New Deal was restoring the people’s faith in the office of the President. The American public had been severely let down by Franklin Roosevelt’s predecessor, for the aforementioned issues. He believed that the government had no business in public welfare and sat by while the unemployment rate reached almost 25%, and around 2 million impoverished citizens (DeGrace, 2011.) Shanty towns were erected and coined “Hoovervilles” by the people who lived there. The military’s raid of the protest of the Bonus Army only further tarnished the reputation of the government. If we go years earlier, much of 29th President Warren G. Harding’s and 30th President Calvin Coolidge’s cabinet was ridden with scandals, many of which had taken bribes and embezzled funds. Roosevelt was a much needed shift from both the scandalous and apathetic tendencies of his predecessors. He utilized debt spending to create public works programs that employed nearly three million Americans. In addition, he regulated wages and many other aspects of the workplace, preventing workers from exploitation, low wages, and overworking. Roosevelt was a populist who had the interests of his constituents as his prime concern.
Under Roosevelt, the Democratic party took a majority hold over the nation; they held down both houses of Congress, and most Governorships. His New Deal helped to unite the Democratic party under common goals and lead them on the path to modern liberalism. Democrats accepted an agenda of social welfare and civil rights; as the de-facto chief of party, Roosevelt spearheaded these efforts. His reputation as a liberal populist was so far-reaching, that for the first time since 1829, the office of President was almost exclusively held by a Democrat for the next 30 years. Roosevelt himself won his first two terms at a landslide, and continued to be elected two more times for an unprecedented third and fourth term, serving as a public figure for just over twelve years. His efforts helped shape and unite the Democratic party and lead it into one of its most successful reigns in American history. His introduction of modern liberalism is still echoed today by the current Democratic party, which to this day promotes an itinerary of both civil rights and social welfare.
The New Deal may not have been as successful as initially intended, but it definitely got American politics going in the right direction. Regardless of whether or not it truly solved the unemployment rate, poverty, or the deflationary gap, it was still an attempt to fix a problem that Roosevelt’s predecessor had refused to tackle; even going so far as to deny the problem was his to solve. While not overwhelmingly effective in ending the depression, Roosevelt’s efforts softened the blow on millions, and his relief programs would have eventually pulled America out of the depression on their own. Roosevelt oversaw a period of liberalism and can be argued one of the founders of modern liberalism, advocating for change that high-profile Democrats still push for today. His efforts helped restore America's faith in their government, and bring America into the modern age.
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