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Roosevelt's Response to the Great Depression

  • Date Submitted: 01/27/2010 11:10 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.8 
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The Great Depression of the 1930’s was a great blow to America especially after the seeming prosperity of the twenties. The depression was a result not of false prosperity in the twenties, although the distribution of wealth was very uneven the affluence was very real, but rather from a lack of economic and political maturity to address the problems either before 1929 or as a cure post 1929. The Great Depression is often seen as a result of the twenties when rather it was a failure of the thirties. If the necessary policies had been drawn up in the twenties there would have been widespread hatred for these policies by the wealthy ruling class. This would have made them impossible to implement. It is only during the depression that they became a remote political possibility. Since most of these measures were never tried by either Hoover or Roosevelt we can only speculate as to the level of political acceptance such measures would have encountered.




Roosevelt's main measure in combating the Great Depression was the implementation of the New Deal. When Roosevelt excepted the presidential nomination he said “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people”. The New Deal, which was never clearly defined, became the label for the measures undertaken to combat the depression. This New Deal sparked off one of the most concentrated bursts of legislation in American history. In 1933 Roosevelt took up office in the face of an economic crisis. Massive unemployment had swept the country and a banking sector in crisis. “The New Deal was already in the oven, only half-baked, but it had to be served quickly” it was perhaps for this reason that the barrage of legislation lacked a coherent philosophy and sometimes seemed rather opportunistic in its approach to the problem. It did however have some consistent facets, it showed a willingness to expand federal powers in order to achieve its goals, it also had consistent humanitarian objectives as...

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