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How Successful Was Franklin Roosevelt in Achieving His Domestic Policy Objectives During the 1930s?

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The American Century: The History Of The United States

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Adam Boon

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How successful was Franklin Roosevelt in achieving his domestic policy objectives during the 1930s?

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1810

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How successful was Franklin Roosevelt in achieving his domestic policy objectives during the 1930s?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This famous remark by Roosevelt is the symbol of the determination of the whole society that the New Deal launched by President Roosevelt is going to solve the Great Depression. However the evaluation of the domestic policies launched in the 1930’s is controversial. This essay aims to provide an angle to look at the New Deal and FDR in a different aspect.

First of all, the background of the domestic policies that FDR is trying to launch is significant to the whole evaluation. Back to 1932, it is sure that only a limited number of presidents have faced more severe crisis than Franklin D. Roosevelt. Some even think that due to the Great Depression, the current capitalism in the failed system is time to be replaced. At that time, the whole weight is on the shoulder of FDR during the turbulent times. After FDR elected as the president of US, the whole nation has suffered from the most severe economic catastrophic at all time. Because of a variety of reasons like the investments disappear with no clues and the unbalanced supply-demand relationship in certain goods, the US stock market crashed in1929. Also known as the start of the Great Depression. The rate of unemployment and homeless is climbing rapidly, soon after, there is more than millions of unemployed and homeless in the cities. Public transportation shut down. Banks closed down due to the inability with all people trying to withdraw their moneys out of banks. An increasing number of people believed that US needed a new direction and the current capitalism is dead end for them. Meanwhile, the whole world also faced the disaster, and needed to unite together to solve the problem.

As for FDR, when the Great Depression started, he was not the president of US. However, he already started to work on his blueprints with some experts to solve the Great Depression. During the campaign, a New Deal was promised by FDR to the public that some totally different acts would be launched to bring prosperity back to US after he took office. Even the whole direction was vague and no one could assert that the New Deal would make a difference, but there was eventually someone who guaranteed to put into some efforts after all.

The whole New Deal contained different kinds of acts. The most important one is the so called ”Alphabet Soup”, the government programs by the new administration. It is fair to say that some of the programs fail to make a difference, while others do impacted US significantly. For example, The Tennessee Valley Authority, which carried out a long-term transformation of some of the USA's most deprived areas by developing irrigation and hydro-electrical projects. Also the Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC) offered thousands of jobs with buildings and national parks protections. Besides the “Alphabet Soup”, some other policies also helped a lot. Due to a growing number of homeless people, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration provided federal money to states to operate soup kitchens and relief programs for the homeless. As for the solution to the unemployment, a large number of people were paid to help with the construction of large scale public facilities like dams, bridges and power stations. Civil Works Administration spent about $1 billion on public works projects such as airports and roads. Meanwhile, some insurance and welfare programs were provided by the Fair Employment Practice Committees to help with the minorities getting jobs. Establishment of Laws is also important, minimum wage and upheld child labour laws were established to make sure the whole society is trying to be as fair as possible. When talked about the “Alphabet Soup” programs, it is apparent that FDR did make some revolutionary changes compared to the last administration governed by Hoover. However, it was also clear that these programs were only short-termed and failed to make changes for people who were the most in need.

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