Objectives and synopsis
The overall objective of the historian is to develop an intellectual discourse.
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The new deal provides a coherent and succinct description of a period that was regarded to be chaotic. Specifically, the book gives a clear account of different policies such as those emanating from the domestic level that were developed and adopted by Roosevelt’s administration. The book also provides a clear picture of Roosevelt who was perceived as a consummate politician. The book contains a much detailed interpretive text which provides much of the required information that relates to the new deal.
The first chapter focuses on Roosevelt’s reports. In this chapter, all the bad experiences and suffering faced by different families in America are discussed. The author notes that only a few families had access to quality living conditions such as residing in mansions and going out to recreate themselves. In the case of Roosevelt, the world was considered as a Hyde Park. During this period, Roosevelt learned myriads of ideas such as national politics, labor unions and also other methods of surviving in business (Conklin, 1992).
The next chapter of the book explores more on the main subtopics of the piece of writing. The New Deal is categorized into two main areas. These groupings focus on shifting policies in order to realize a divisive class and also to attain an acceptable legislation. In this chapter, the attempts by Roosevelt to tamper with Hoover’s dream are discussed briefly.
Hoover was committed toward fostering a generous and honest America with the help of other European governments. This is an indication that Roosevelt did not care much about the life of Americans. Despite the existence of different acts like NIRA and NRA, quite a number of activities were not carried out in the most satisfactory way.
For example, the construction works did not have any significant positive impact bearing in mind that a lot of monetary resources were used in such activities. The NRA act that was geared towards improving the economy did not make any substantial impact at all since it was dominated by businessmen and women. As a result of the numerous obstacles facing the Act, it was discarded in the year 1935.
The efforts of other people like Tugwell and Berle to restructure the economy are also presented in this section. In the case of Tugwell, he tried to boost the economy by drawing up plans. The failure to implement his plans made the economy to remain in a recessive mode. Similarly, Berle wanted the management to be moralized and socialized. In order to achieve the latter, Berle advocated for nationalization. However, the private industries failed to fulfill the goals of the public.
There were also organizations like Home Owners Corporations which provided assistance to the needy people in different ways. People were given an opportunity of accessing mortgages in the sense that payment was spread out for a period of over sixty years (Conklin, 1992). The last section of this chapter presents the consequences of Roosevelt’s failure to honor coherent programs. Notably, the failure of Roosevelt to honor these programs made majority people to involve themselves with the government (Conklin, 1992).
The third chapter of the book attempts to explain how a welfare state originated. According to the author, the increasing depression amongst the people triggered the creation of a public warfare. Specifically, the welfare would aid in finding out solutions to the increasing cases of depression. Later on, a congress was introduced in the year 1935. After the establishment of this welfare, Roosevelt agreed to engage in emergency reliefs.
During this time, there were other organizations that were created to help the disadvantaged Americans. For example, the Resettlement Administration headed by Tugwell struggled to fight for equality and also established medical plans. The organization also helped farmers by providing them with loans whereby farmers were expected to give a given percentage of their harvested crops as a form of loan repayment.
Other organization like those involved in rural electrification availed loans to the rural cooperatives at very low interest rates. This meant that the rural population could easily establish their own power lines and therefore eventually eliminating unnecessary costs.
This plan was one of the most successful deals ever executed during this time. The deal helped to provide power at low cost and also provided valuable information that relate to local and co-operation democracy. Despite the establishment of such measures, there were other practices that hindered a faster economic recovery. In this chapter, the author asserts that the presence of employee tax greatly hindered the recovery of the economy.
This situation was further worsened by the inability of the earlier act to protect the people against illness. In addition, the Act did not provide the citizens with medical insurance and still made payment basing on earlier payments instead of making payments according to their needs (Conklin, 1992).
The last chapter of the book discusses the dangers of depression politics. The author notes that all the people who expressed interest in politics did not want to associate themselves with the new deal. The mini-depression witnessed in 1937 was triggered by the suspension of expenditures and termination of PWA in the same year.
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Although there was a balanced budget, the bank’s reserve requirements increased eventually causing an increase in the local rates of interest. According to Conklin (1992), many employees went on a go slow in order to push for wage increase and also to realize a faster distribution of dividends. This chapter also explains some of the setbacks experienced by the new deal.
For example, businesses slanted the NRA codes as a way of increasing on their profit. This was contrary to what the cooperative designs advocated for. When the new deal began, the cooperative designs were interested in reducing consumer prices and improving employee wages. As a result, many people criticized the new deal since it did not seem to contribute towards changing the capitalistic system.
For the period between 1933 and 1938, the book faced increased criticism. According to Maney (1998), the critics were mainly the conservatives who described Roosevelt as a dictator.
The dictatorship from Roosevelt resulted into increased socialism and cases of bankruptcy among the people. More criticisms also occurred when Roosevelt tried to make adjustments in Supreme Court. This attempt took place in the year 1937, a move that increased fear from the sympathetic liberals who thought that the presidential power was being unnecessarily overstretched.
After experiencing numerous frustrations from the judicial activists, Roosevelt tried to seek assistance from the Congress. The latter was expected to support the new deal. However, it is important to note that even after this plan failed to succeed; the ruling from the Supreme Court was in favor of Roosevelt. He managed to appoint quite a number of powerful liberal justices like Felix Frankfurter and Hugo Black in the year 1940.
The liberal critics also argued that “the new deal” favored a capitalist system and at the same time failed to honor its pledge especially in addressing the problems that affected disadvantaged Americans. Though the new deal managed to advance some reforms and furnish relief, it failed to achieve its expected outcomes. The deal only managed to attend to some few problems, ignored other problems and also brought in other problems.
Another critic to the new deal is that it caused the economy to undergo a major crisis that was never witnessed before. During this period, Roosevelt found alternative ways of saving American capitalism through reforms. Many businesses were always in fear due to the strong powers given to Roosevelt. He did not manage to convince the business owners that he would not take their plants using his powers. This explains why most business criticized the new deal (Maney, 1998).
Maney (1998) adds that the new deal was also criticized for failing the dreams of many reformers. Roosevelt did not take any step to rectify the situation. Instead, he referred the reformers as being evil. Roosevelt justified his move by explaining that the new deal helped to boost security.
Dewey also criticized the new deal arguing that, the deal was misdirection. According to Dewey, the new deal started and also ended without providing clear answers on different issues that affected people. Majority of the critics supported Tugwel but he failed to access power.
In recap, it is evident that the content of the book “the new deal” fits well into the materials covered in the course. The book provides a better understanding of the different policies developed by Roosevelt’s administration.
Conklin, P. K. (1992).The New Deal. Wheeling, Ill: Harlan Davidson.
Maney, P. J. (1998). The Roosevelt presence: The life and legacy of FDR. Berkeley, Calif: Univ. of Calif, Press.