In 1933, Roosevelt was elected President of the USA. He was a democrat. In his election campaign, he attacked the attitudes of Hoover and the Republicans and made 16 major speeches promising the American people a New Deal, which was a number of organizations set up to restore America’s prosperity. In his New Deal Roosevelt decided to use the full power of the government to get the USA out of depression. This Democratic government was a huge contrast to the Republican policy of ‘Laissez faire’ by which the government stayed out of business issues and of the everyday lives of the American people.
Roosevelt knew that the American people were fed up with Hoover’s attitudes, as America was still stuck in the Depression. Hoover, a Republican, who was the previous president, believed that America was just going through a bad period and that industry, agriculture and employment would all rise sooner or later without government interference. However, the Democrats and, by 1933, the ordinary American citizens could see that this was not the case.
Roosevelt’s priorities when he was elected were: getting the Americans back to work; protecting their savings and property; providing for the sick, old and unemployed and getting American industry and agriculture back on their feet. This would be no easy task. To help him achieve his aims, Roosevelt set up various agencies. The Securities Exchange Commission was set up to deal with America’s banking crisis during which hundreds of banks had gone bankrupt. This was as a result of everyone withdrawing their savings at the same time following a crisis of confidence in the banks.
The government invested money in those banks believed to be trustworthy. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration set about meeting the urgent needs of the poor. It spent $500 million on soup kitchens, blankets, employment schemes and nurseries. The Civilian Conservation Corps was aimed at tackling unemployment, particularly the unemployment of young men. It provided a limited period of six months work for those who could not find work. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration looked at the long term problems farmers faced.
American farmers had been badly hit by the depression and could not sell their crops which meant that many were forced to migrate. The AAA aimed at reducing farm production to force prices up. It also helped farmers to modernize and use farming methods that would protect their land. The Public Works Administration, initially known as the National Industrial Recovery Act, was set up to help stimulate the economy by helping industry to recover and deal with the unemployment problems. This section of the National Industrial Recovery Act used government money to build schools, roads, dams, bridges and airports.
A second branch of the National Industrial Recovery Act was the National Recovery Administration, which aimed at improving working conditions and wages as well as stimulating the economy by giving workers money to spend without overproducing and causing a slump. The final agency set up by Roosevelt and his democratic government was the Tennessee Valley authority which aimed to solve the problems with the farming land around the Tennessee River. The farming land around the river had become a desert due to the frequency of floods and droughts in the region.
The government worked to find a way to reduce the poverty in the Tennessee Valley. Roosevelt’s four main priorities were all linked closely together. First and foremost, they all had the main aim of lifting America out of the Depression. The democratic president knew that if Americans found stable employment and had trustworthy banks, they would be likely to save money in those banks. This would boost the banks and therefore help the economy. Providing relief for the sick, the old and unemployed would help restore the population’s faith in the country.
All these three factors would encourage the American people to spend money on American goods and so would help stimulate the economy. An improvement in the economic state of the country would help rescue America from the Depression and regain prosperity. Roosevelt’s New Deal was based on his four main priorities: getting the Americans back to work; protecting their saving and property; providing for the sick, old and unemployed and getting American industry and agriculture industries back on their feet. To achieve his aims, Roosevelt needed help and so he set up seven agencies aimed at lifting America out of the Depression.