The New Deal was a series of economic programs created in the United States from 1933 to 1938. When Roosevelt flew to Chicago to deliver his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination he declared, "I pledge you, I pledge myself, a new deal for the American people." The creation of these programs was approved by Congress and implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in order to combat the Great Depression. The three main goals of these programs were to provide relief, recovery, and reform for all Americans. After the Depression began in late 1929, Americans looked to FDR’s predecessor, Herbert Hoover, for guidance and direction during this national nightmare. Hoover at one point declared that the country had “overcome” this economic crisis, but that was far from the truth, as unemployment had increased from 4 to 25 percent during his presidency. In the U.S. presidential election of 1932, Americans spoke loud and clear as they elected FDR in a landslide victory. In his first inaugural address, Roosevelt tried to calm the fears of Americans by ensuring them that the only thing they had to fear was “…fear itself(6)." (Appleby 4)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Inaugural Address (03/04/1933) (2):
President Roosevelt skipped his inaugural ball and immediately went to work with a diverse group of advisors from fields of academia, business, agriculture, government, law, and social work, collectively known as his “Brain Trust” (Appleby 4) . In the first hundred days of his presidency alone, his administration managed to get Congress to pass 15 major acts to combat the crisis. For the duration of his first term in office (1933-1937), President Roosevelt helped ram through Congress significant amounts of legislation on an unprecedented scale, all so the country could get moving again. The series of reforms collectively known as the New Deal, helped move the United States into the right direction as far getting out of the Depression. As these reforms went in to effect, the president gave what are now known as "fireside chats" to the American people, informing them about the new programs and laws passed in Washington and also included words of encouragement such as, "... Together we cannot fail." in order to boost their morale. (Appleby 4)
Fireside Chat 1: On the Banking Crisis (March 12, 1933) (3)
The methods and so-called “radical” measures of the Roosevelt administration, as well as their legality and effectiveness were questioned by opponents such as the American Liberty League, Sen. Huey Long and his "Share-Our-Wealth" clubs, the National Union for Social Justice, and many others (Appleby 4). Legislators were also concerned about the fiscal responsibility involved in all this as FDR’s New Deal programs involved massive deficit spending (1) , and increased government regulation of the economy. But nevertheless, these programs provided a safety net for those most affected by the Depression and put Americans back to work. Several New Deal programs were so successful that they remain in existence today, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Social Security system, etc. These institutions continue to have a profound effect on the lives of Americans in the 21st century.
Gross National Product during the Great Depression. (12)