Strengthening the Role of the Federal Government

The roaring twenties was a time of fun and prosperity. Women started showing more skin, alcohol was heavily consumed, and the rich were becoming richer. This time however left Americans unprepared for what would happen in the 1930s. On October 29, 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, the stock market crashed. The president at the time, Herbert Hoover, struggled with helping the nation. Like some previous presidents, he maintained the idea of laissez-faire. This idea, however failed to help the economy at the time. The people wanted a new president; and on March 4, 1933 Franklin D.

Roosevelt took office. Roosevelt tried to reform and restore the American economy saying, “All we have to fear is fear itself. ” Roosevelt implemented his New Deal plan to assuage Americans ? from the plight of the Depression. His administration was very effective during the dark years of the Depression. The new programs and acts helped strengthen the role of the federal government.

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Roosevelt came into office with huge challenges to face. When elected into office, the unemployment rate was at about 12,000,000. (Doc.

J) As soon as he was elected into office, Roosevelt ordered Congress to start implementing his programs and passing regulations. One of his goals was aimed at industrial and agricultural recovery. His plans consisted of The National Recovery Administration, which was FDR’s attempt to achieve economic advancement through planning and cooperation among the government, business, and labor. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration taxed food processors and gave the money to the farmers. Another one of his major goals was to relieve Americans. Unlike Hoover, he supported federal support to help the unemployed and destitute citizens.

Placing Harry Hopkins in charge of the relief program, new agencies came about to help Americans avoid starvation and humiliating breadlines. One effort was the Civilian Conservation Corps, which enrolled young city men on relief to work on the nation’s public lands, cutting trails, planting trees, building bridges, and paving roads. This helped both to the families’ income and nation’s welfare. The Works Progress Administration was established to spend nearly $5 billion for emergency relief. This put the unemployed on the federal payroll so they could earn money to meet their basic needs and get Americans to become consumers again.

He pictured that if he could get more people to be consumers again, businesses would start prospering, and the economy would flourish once again. Roosevelt is trying to explain that his changes and programs added were a type of evolution, moving the country forward, not a revolution, moving them backwards. (Doc. C) All the programs mentioned above gave Americans opportunities to get out of this despair time. His final goal was more radical then relief and recovery. The nation needed this more radical step, and Roosevelt responded by embracing a reform program that marked the climax of his New Deal.

He was ready to take the edge off national dissent. His most significant reform enacted in 1935 was the Social Security reform. This was a permanent program that gave elderly over the age of 65 money so they could buy life’s essentials. They would receive this money ever month and were permitted to spend this money only 30 days after receiving the check. This forced them to become consumers and helped the elderly from starvation. (Doc. E) This act also gave federal grants to the states for welfare payments to the blind, handicapped, needy elderly, and dependent children.

Another radical program was the Wagner Act, which outlawed a number of union-busting tactics and decreed that whenever the majority of a company’s workers voted for a union to represent them, management would be compelled to negotiate with the union on all matters of wages, hours, and working conditions. This led to the revitalization of the American labor movement and permanent change in labor-management relations. The role of the federal government dramatically changed from Hoover’s administration to Roosevelt’s. The government was heavily involved with these programs.

It was strengthened and was given more powers due to the agencies that Roosevelt established. (Doc. H) But, Conservatives and the wealthy thought the government was a socialist or communist, because of their over-powering rule. They thought the New Deal would never work. (Doc. B) Some, such as Charles Evan Hughes, believed that the government interference was becoming too extreme. The invalid regulations of the poultry industry were an invalid use of Congress’ powers. Concluding that the NIRA was unconstitutional. (Doc. F) On the other hand, people saw the New Deal as both hindering and helping industrial activity.

It helped the unemployed, but also took on too much power and created a larger debt for the national government. His growth of bureaucracy and spending were questionable. (Doc. D) Overall, Roosevelt really helped shape our nation during that dark time in our history. His numerous agencies and programs effectively helped the nation get back on track. The government gained more power. His New Deal did not exactly help save everyone, but it did create a positive starting point to get out of the debt. The New Deal did bring many positive things as mentioned above. FDR will forever be remembered as saving the nation under the Great Depression.

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