The New Deal. Reeling from the economic downturn and angry about President Hoover’s refusal to use the government to relieve the suffering of the people many Americans looked to the upcoming Presidential election in 1932 as a way to change their circumstances. .
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The New Deal
Reeling from the economic downturn and angry about President Hoover’s refusal to use the government to relieve the suffering of the people many Americans looked to the upcoming Presidential election in 1932 as a way to change their circumstances.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself….”
Once he was President Franklin Roosevelt moved quickly to counteract the problems caused by the Depression
A desperate Congress supported Roosevelt’s efforts and rubber-stamped his proposals in order to expedite the reforms.
During the first 100 days of his presidency, a never-ending stream of bills was passed, to relieve poverty, reduce unemployment, and speed economic recovery.
While they did not end the Depression, the New Deal's experimental programs helped the American people’s spirits by taking care of their basic needs and giving them the dignity of work, and hope.
felt this was a step forward.
But Native Americans who were more assimilated into the larger society and had become individual landholders through the Dawes Act resented yet more white interference in their affairs.
Mostly through the support of
He was not as well-liked in rural areas, or by the traditional elites.
Escapist movies and radio entertainment were extremely popular, and helped people forget their cares during very tough times.
Wallace Beery & Jean Harlow in
Dinner At Eight (1933)
Thousands of artists, writers and photographers were put on the government payroll through the Works Progress Administration. When federal support of artists was questioned, Director of the WPA Harry Hopkins answered, "Hell! They've got to eat just like other people."
The WPA supported tens of thousands of artists, by funding creation of 2,566 murals and 17,744 pieces of sculpture that still decorate public buildings nationwide.
Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”
The federal art, theater, music, and writing programs, while not changing American culture as much as their adherents had hoped, did bring more art to more Americans than ever before or since.
The WPA program in the arts led to the creation of the National Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities which still offers support for artists and art projects of all kinds throughout the United States.
This photograph, known as Migrant Mother, is probably WPA photographer Dorothea Lange's most famous. It depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on a mother of seven children, age thirty-two, in Nipomo, California, March 1936. The woman in the picture is Florence Owens Thompson, whose partner and sons had gone to get help for their broken down car.
This WPA mural "Parks, the Circus, the Klan, the Press"by Thomas Hart Benton is located in Woodburn Hall, Indiana University-Bloomington Campus
Another Thomas Hart Benton WPA mural --
"Electric Power, Motor-Cars, Steel"also located in Woodburn Hall, Indiana University-Bloomington Campus
This land is your land,
this land is my land
to the New York Island
From the redwood forest,
to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me thatendless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me
This song is considered by
many people to be the truest
expression of the American
spirit….but you have to wonder
if they’ve heard the whole thing….
As I was walkin' –
I saw a sign there
And that sign said –
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!
In the squares of the city –
In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office –
I see my people
And some are grumblin'
and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.
Woody Guthrie wrote many
protest songs about ordinary
people and their struggles during
the Depression -- these lyrics, rarely
heard, are very typical of his view
of the world.
The federal government was not bringing in enough tax dollars to cover the costs of all of the New Deal programs.
John Maynard Keynes
“Roosevelt or Ruin!”
Huey Long speaks about his ideas to Share the Wealth
The Kingfish was killed on September 10 1935
The Social Security Act – 1935
In short, through his policies and attempts to end the Depression FDR oversaw major and important changes in American politics and governance that would define life in the United States for most of the twentieth century.
American mobilization for the coming war in the early 1940s finally brought the United States out of its economic doldrums
but that is another story for another day…..