History B GCSE Unit 6 AQA (6.2)

How did Roosevelt deal with the Depression?


  • Elected in November 1932, but did not take office until March 1933
  • Economic situation in America was getting worse
  • Two weeks before he took office an assassin fired five bullets at him at close range
  • He was unharmed
  • Roosevelt, when he took office, started a hectic period of reforms "The Hundred Days"
  • He wanted to act quickly
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Fireside chats

  • Roosevelt appreciated the media
  • First fireside chat in March 1933
  • Spoke directly to the American people
  • Listened to by millions of Americans
  • He invited people to write to him about their problems
  • Mail arrived by the truckload and staff of 50 was needed to handle all of it
  • Contrastingly Hoover only employed 1 person for the same job
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The New Deal

  • Roosevelt introduced what became known as the New Deal
  • Lots of acts to restore confidence
  • Within the first 100 days he started a wide range of programmes designed to deal with the banking crisis, restore confidence in the stock exchange, help agriculture and industry and provide relief to the homeless and unemployed
  • The New Deal's programme became known as "RELIEF, RECOVERY, REFORM"
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The banking crisis

  • During the presidency of Hoover, many banks had gone bankrupt and businesses could not repay loans
  • By 1933 many banks were closed in many states and many investors were withdrawing their savings from the remaining banks
  • Roosevelt therefore closed ALL of the banks throught the USA for four days to give time to pass new laws
  • The Emergency Banking Relief Act, restored confidence in banking
  • Gave strict government control over banks
  • Only sounder banks were allowed to reopen
  • Government guaranteed all money put into banks up to $2,500 would be covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • At the same time, Roosevelt acted to restore confidence in the stock exchange with government agencies overseeing activities and preventing bad or risky practices
  • This helped resume trading
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AAA The Agricultural Adjustment Act, May 1933

  • MAY 1933
  • In 1920s overproduction was a big problem
  • Falling incomes meant many farms were being handed over to banks in order to pay debts
  • Roosevelt aimed to make farming more efficient by ending overproduction
  • A new agency was set up, AAA, it paid farmers to reduce their production and therefore drove up prices
  • However, much criticism was formed with the destroying of 6 million piglets, when millions of Americans were starvinng
  • Despite many afterwards being used to feed the unemployed
  • Government was helped by the drought in 1933
  • Overall the work of the AAA led to better standards of living for farmers
  • Between 1932 - 35 total farm income rose from $4.5 billion to $6.9 billion
  • It effectively dealt with the problem of overproduction
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FERA The Federal Emergency Relief Administration -

  • MAY 1933
  • Gave $500 million to be divided equally among the states to help the unemployed
  • Half the money went straight to the states the other half was conditional on each state depending on each state spending money on relief
  • Roosevelt chose Harry Hopkins to run this programme
  • However many state governments refused to consider spending more and said the poor were in that position due to their own fault
  • Those needing relief were often mistreated in some states
  • Claimants were left waiting in long queues in hot weather and long delays were made in payments
  • Although FERA was disappointing, it did establish the idea of the Federal government giving funds directly for relief
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CWA Civil Works Administration - Relief

  • NOVEMBER 1933
  • Set up to provide emergency relief during the winter of 1933-34
  • Provided work on public projects for 4 million people during the winter before being closed down
  • FERA agreed to follow this up with more funded public project works itself
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CCC Civilian Conservation Corps - Relief

  • MARCH 1933
  • Unemployed men from 17-24 (later increased to 28)
  • Recruited by Department of Labour to work in Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in nation forests, parks and other public areas
  • Originally set up for about 2 years but was extended throughout the 30s
  • Altogether about 3 million young people were involved
  • Lived in camps and provided with food and shelter
  • Received a small wage
  • They planted 1.3 billion trees and contributed to all aspects of work in the countryside
  • Many young people benefitted from the experiences being provided
  • However the CCC was criticised for focusing on mainly white men and there was no guarantee of a job afterwards
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NRA National Recovery Administration - Welfare

  • JUNE 1933
  • Set out to improve working conditions in industry and outlawed child labour
  • Set out for fair wages
  • Employees had the right to join a trade union
  • Each industry was encouraged to adopt a code of practice that was fair to workers
  • Eventually 557 codes were drawn up covering most industries
  • However there were many criticisms
  • The Supreme Court later declared NRA to be unlawful
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PWA Public Works Administration - Recovery

  • JUNE 1933
  • Funded with $3.3 billion aits its purpose was 'pump priming' (government spending = economic growth)
  • Hoped expenditure on public works would stimulate the economy
  • Work was carefully planned, the government did not want to be accused of wasting money on badly-thought out projects
  • Harold Ickes was in charge, he demanded value for money
  • PWA built 50,000 miles of roads and 13,000 schools
  • Hundreds of thousands of people gained jobs through this
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WPA Works Progress Administration - Recovery

  • 1935
  • Second wave of government activity
  • WPA had around 2 million employees
  • Wages were reasonable but lower than private industry
  • WPA was not allowed to compete for contracts which private firms or to build private houses
  • It did build 1,000 airport landing fields, 8,000 schools and hospitals and 12,000 playgrounds
  • People were taken on for one year and then given other opportunities
  • WPA took on jobs private companies did not want
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TVA Tennesse Valley Authority - Recovery

  • MAY 1933
  • One of the biggest schemes of the New Deal
  • Tennesse river ran through seven of the poorest states in USA
  • Aim was to construct 20 dams to control the floors that affected the region
  • In dry seasons the land was a dust bowl, this helped farming
  • Also hydroelectric power was now provided in an area where farms previously had no electricity
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HOLC Home Owners Loan Corporation - Relief

  • 1933
  • Gave new loans to home buyers
  • Mortgage rates were low to prevent buyers from losing their homes
  • The intention was to stimulate the housing maret
  • Three 300,000 loans were given out within a year
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SSA Social Security Act - Relief

  • 1935
  • First federal action that provided old-age pensions for over 65s and unemployment insurance
  • However it had to be self-financing, paid for by employees and employers
  • Pensioners were not paid a flat rate but according to how much the worker had previously contributed and they would not start until 1940
  • Unemployment benefits were low and paid only for a limited period
  • A maximum of $18 a week for 16 weeks
  • However, this was a big step towards providing welfare for those in need, it was criticised by many political opponents of Roosevelt
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