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Accepting the position of the President of the United States on March 4, 1933, Franklin Roosevelt in his speech promised to apply the most vigorous measures to combat the crisis. On March 9, a special session of the congress began, lasting more than three months and adopting a number of important acts that seriously affected the US economy and laid the foundation of the New Deal. This paper will focus on the initiatives of Roosevelt’s presidency, its premises, justification, and the impact of the former presidents.
First of all, the situation in the industrial and banking spheres required an urgent adoption of anti-crisis measures. Attempts were made to stabilize the monetary system, which was to become the foundation for subsequent decisions. In the early days of Roosevelt’s presidency, the Emergency Banking Act was announced, and bank holidays were created. The act temporarily suspended all operations of banks belonging to the Federal Reserve System of the United States.
Roosevelt declared that bank holidays in many cases create great inconvenience, but, at the same time, they give the opportunity to replenish the stock of cash, as required by the situation. In his turn, Reed claims that this strategy deprived depositors of their money and literally killed almost 2,000 banks that never operated again after bank holidays. Also, the author considers that the New Deal even prolonged the Great Depression by prohibiting branch banking. Compared to Canada, which did not have the mentioned law, the United States experienced many failures in the banking area.
Particularly interesting and contradictory was the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933. On the part of the state, the practical implementation of the mentioned act was entrusted by the National Recovery Administration led by Hugh Johnson.
The whole industry was divided into 17 groups, while each of them contained codes of fair competition. During the period of the development of codes for each industry, the government proposed its model code, which could be applied to any industry on a temporary basis for restoring business activity. All industries quickly developed the appropriate codes after approval by the head of the state. Enterprises that agreed to comply with the terms of the codes were given the right to designate their products with the sign of a blue eagle.
To combat the key manifestation of the decline in production – unemployment, as well as to improve the financial situation of the population, the following measures were taken by Roosevelt: the direct assistance to the unemployed, the introduction of an unemployment insurance system, and the organization of public works. On May 12, 1933, to provide assistance to the unemployed people, the President allocated approximately $ 0.5 billion. The national aid was provided by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) headed by Hopkins. Based on the recommendations of NIRA, the Public Works Administration (PWA) was created. In 1935, important reforms were introduced in the areas of labor, social security, taxation, banking, and other spheres.
The difficult economic situation prevailing in the country forced the leadership to take urgent measures, which served as the basis for further reforms aimed at stabilizing the economy. In other words, the very state of the country’s economy as the consequences of the Great Depression made Roosevelt initiate the mentioned actions. The struggle against the Great Depression affected virtually all spheres of society. The activities that were aimed at the development of public works, maintaining prices, developing agriculture, creating new mortgage markets, regulating the securities market, shortening the working day and the working week, restoring international trade, increasing the area of forests, and abolishing the dry law – all that led to Roosevelt’s acts and regulations.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an American of Dutch origin and a distant relative of Theodore Roosevelt, the President of the United States of 1901-1909. From the beginning of the 1920s, Roosevelt fought with the hardest disease – poliomyelitis, which left an indelible imprint on his character and personal traits. Apparently, this led to the fact that the whole meaning of his life was switched to work, and its highest manifestation was full and unselfish service to his state and people.
What is especially important, as a person suffering from the disease, he certainly was close to the suffering of other people. Most likely, at the time of his election, Roosevelt had his own vision of reforming the existing economic order. In many ways, he acted empirically on the basis of the requirements of real-life, practice, and not any dogmas. Roosevelt was a vividly expressed collectivist and relied on scientists’ suggestions.
It is equally important that Roosevelt was able to synthesize the best economic and political concepts of the time, including the new nationalism of Theodor Roosevelt and the new freedom of Wilson. At the same time, it is possible to note that Roosevelt’s initiative had an adverse impact on the country’s economy. In particular, Reed points out that the President attempted to spend $ ten billion on the renovation, while the US revenue was only $ three billion. Most importantly, the author emphasizes that the “federal debt skyrocketed by 73 percent”. This shows that Roosevelt’s New Deal had both adverse and beneficial impacts.
The American bourgeoisie was largely oriented towards the domestic market. The American establishment believed that everything would come to order by itself, which was due to the weakness of the economic measures of President Hoover. In fact, some of Hoover’s measures were actually and successfully used by Roosevelt in the future. Another president whose initiative made an impact on Roosevelt was Woodrow Wilson.
Keeping faithfulness to the President Woodrow Wilson’s slogan about the messianic role of the United States and not changing their claims to world leadership, Franklin Roosevelt and the Democrats opposed the Republican foreign policy and introduced the concept of an active invasion in the international affairs, but again in the interests of affirming Washington’s influence on the course of world development. Enacting the Executive Reorganization bill in 1939, he boosted the responsibilities of the Chief Executive and improved the capacity of the presidency.
To conclude, it is significant to emphasize that the role of President Franklin Roosevelt was essential for overcoming the Great Depression in the United States. Roosevelt called his program New Deal to overcome the consequences of the Great Depression and solve social problems. The new course combined measures to strengthen the state regulation of the economy with reforms in the social sphere. The most important result was that the economy passed the phase of the crisis since all indicators of recovery were evident.
Reed, Lawrence. Great Myths of the Great Depression. Midland, MI: Mackinac Center, 2008.
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Shi, David Emory, and Tindall, George Brown. America: A Narrative History. 10th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.
- Lawrence Reed, Great Myths of the Great Depression (Midland, MI: Mackinac Center, 2008), 9.
- David Emory Shi and George Brown Tindall, America: A Narrative History, 10th ed. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2016), 323.
- David Emory Shi and George Brown Tindall, America: A Narrative History, 10th ed. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2016), 327.
- Lawrence Reed, Great Myths of the Great Depression (Midland, MI: Mackinac Center, 2008), 10.