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April 13 2020 HIST 2112 section 17 Spring 2020 Unit 6 Essay Was the New Deal a hinderance to person liberty and business or was it necessary to avoid the strife and violence which happened in Europe One of the greatest tragedies in American history happened in 1929 The Great Depression Children were roaming the streets and eating out of trash cans families once enjoying ascendancy into the middle class were now sending their children door to door in search of food But economic downturn wasn t new to most Americans but this event was more catastrophic than the downturns of the 1870s and 1890s 80 of automotive workers lost their jobs the Ford Motor company laid off 2 3 of their workforce during the depression Not only was The Great Depression a description of the financial circumstances of the American economy it was also an appropriate description of the outlook of the American people The 1930 s was an era where the hallmarks of American liberty were being examined this examination was spurred by the absence of prosperity which brought so many people liberty just a few years prior How could this happen after the explosive success of the Roaring 20 s Historians credit the trading of speculative stocks and investment in speculative land deals in what would be later called Ponzi schemes Only 10 of Americans participated in the stock market however millions were affected by the 1929 stock market crash Banks abruptly went out of business taking many people with them into financial ruin Millions of Americans fell into financial hardship leaving many towns and farms in dereliction The banks that didn t fail ended up foreclosing on homes in 1932 approximately 250 000 homes were foreclosed on as a result Americans felt they had nowhere to turn to during this battle for survival President Hoover believed America would overcome the economic downturn but he believed it would be done through the coalescence of individualism and American Exceptionalism Hoover believed nonprofits like the Elks the American Red Cross and professionals like teachers and police stations would be able to help alleviate people of their suffering Many non profits came together valiantly to assist the American worker but these efforts failed due to the scope of the deserving poor And as the depression worsened they demanded more direct support from the federal government The kind of support President Hoover repeatedly refused to give Americans needed change and wanted it now And it was not surprising to see President Hoover roundly defeated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt FDR in the election of 1932 Roosevelt a Democrat made promises of the New Deal And though the plan was not formulated the actual details of his grand plan would come later His administration would transform the role of the federal government beyond new boundaries in ways unseen before in American history He hired social workers and other intellectuals to aid him on this journey to redefine American liberty as well as the role of the federal government in American life during the Great Depression The New Deal was founded on socialist ideas but not socialism in terms of economic solutions or governance FDR and his think tank believed some large businesses should be controlled by the government and not fully dissolved Government control of private assets is socialism by its definition So the New Deal was inspired by socialist countries in Europe who had programs like Social security and healthcare but its programs weren t as radically left as the communist party or further left like fully socialist governments The New Deal was challenging the idea of American governance and a direct charge against what many workers characterized as unsafe and unfair labor practices FDR in one fireside chat said he wanted greater security for the common man and less use of the liberty of contract which he believed only benefitted a select few FDR implemented programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps CCC which employed several unemployed men to work on infrastructure projects for the federal government This initiative had some popularity but critics believed it would create a permanent dependence on the federal government for employment Despite some disagreements 3 million unemployed had worked under the CCC until its dissolvement in 1942 President Roosevelt also used another public organization called the Public works Administration or PWA funded by 3 3 billion dollars of tax payer money to employ roughly 4 million people to work on roads schools and hospitals The Supreme Courts initially ruled against several New Deal laws and programs such as the National Recovery Association NRA 1935 and the Agricultural Adjustment Act AAA in 1938 The Supreme court ruled in this manner because laws favored the owner of the land property also known as liberty of contract The Supreme Court didn t begin to change its rulings until the 2nd New Deal after FDR threatened to pack the bench with his judges to protect his 2nd New Deal laws Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes stated the liberty of contract is not in the constitution but liberty is and liberty needs to protect the health safety morals and welfare of the people Franklin Delano Roosevelt restored hope to millions though some of his most grandiose efforts did not bring about the change he had hoped Unemployment was still high and much of the country remained poor But the programs brought forth by Roosevelt sustained the country through the economic downturn and potentially prepared the country in case of another depression His policies did not hinder the free enterprise but gave the worker a more even footing in the violent class warfare which being waged during the social revolution of the 1930 s The New Deal gave protection to the American worker and redefined liberty in a time when many felt they had lost it with their material posessesions

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MGC HIST 2112 - Unit 6 Notes

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