• Anna Darelli-Anderson

Franklin Delano Roosevelt & the Great Depression


When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933, he had to figure out a way to pull the nation out of the Great Depression that President Hoover had essentially refused to acknowledge. The president's goals, a part of his New Deal that focused exclusively on reversing the effects of the depression, at the time were simple: bank reform, job creation, economic regulation, and regional planning.

By the end of the year (and his first 100 days in office), Roosevelt had managed to pass fifteen significant pieces of legislation. Beginning with the banking crisis, not even 48 hours after his inauguration, he declared an official bank holiday and held a session for Congress during which the Emergency Banking Act of 1933 was created. The act, which removed the notorious gold standard, was subsequently signed into law immediately, on March 9th. The law allowed 70 percent of banks to reopen a mere six days later due to being solvent with the new regulation (Corbett et al., 2017).

In order to create more jobs quickly, Roosevelt also signed the Wagner-Peyser Act, creating the United States Employment Service. This deal "promised states matching funds if they created local employment opportunities" (Corbett et al., 2017). Additionally, the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA) was authorized $500 million in direct grants to help the nearly fifteen million unemployed. Furthermore, agencies such as the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), sanctioned by the president, worked to provide jobs to men and women (Corbett et al., 2017).


Among his other laws were the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the National Industry Recovery Act (NIRA), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The AAA was created by the Agricultural Adjustment Act, meant to boost agricultural prices by reducing surpluses. This agency was designed to oversee the distribution of subsidies given to farmers to not plant part of their land. As for the NIRA, passed in 1933, two associations were implemented because of it: The Public Works Administration (PWA) and the National Recovery Administration (NRA). The PWA was welcomed by the general public and, while the NRA was initially supported by businesses, the NRA was deemed unconstitutional in 1935 due to the multitude of industrial codes and regulations it executed and never replaced. Unfortunately, the damage was done by the two years the NRA remained active and Roosevelt lost quite a bit of political support (Corbett et al., 2017).

References:

Corbett, P. S., Janssen, V., Lund, J. M., Pfannestiel, T., Waskiewicz, S., Vickery, P. 2017. U.S. History. Houston: OpenStax.

Anna Darelli-Anderson

University of Utah

Department of Surgery

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