The New Deal: The Works Progress Administration.
Americans were ready for a change.
A relatively unknown governor of New York accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for President.
America had ironically chosen a Presidential candidate who had never known economic hardship.
He grew up privileged and with the best schooling.
1905- He married his distant cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt, President Teddy Roosevelt’s niece.
He rose quickly through the political ranks-NY Senate, Assistant Sec. Of Navy under Wilson, VP candidate in the 1920 election.Roosevelt Takes Charge
He experienced a high fever and severe pains in his back and legs.
2 weeks later he was diagnosed with Polio and never fully gained the use of his legs.
With Eleanor’s help, he made a political comeback by being elected the governor of NY and earning the reputation as a reformer.
When he became the Presidential nominee, he campaigned on “a new deal for the American people.”
He had been vague on how to combat the Great Depression.
“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demandsbold,persistentexperimentation. It is common sense to take a method and to try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all,trysomething!”
Hoover wanted state and local relief and through private agencies.
Even long time Republicans deserted Hoover.
Roosevelt beat him by 7 million votes but Americans had to wait 4 long months in between election and inauguration.America Votes
The press nicknamed them the “Brain Trust.”
Though he was a Democrat, he displayed openness to nominating two Republicans to serve as his Sec. Of Ag. And Sec. Of Interior.
He nominated Frances Perkins, a social worker, to be his Sec. Of Labor and she became the first woman Cabinet member in U.S. history.
He depended heavily on his wife.
She traveled and interacted with people while serving as his “eyes and ears.”Putting Together a Winning Team
A banking panic gripped the nation as frightened people withdrew their savings.
The day after his inauguration, he called Congress into a special session and convinced them to pass laws to shore up the nation’s banking system.
The Emergency Banking Bill gave the President broad powers-including the power to declare a 4-day bank “holiday”.
Banks all over the country were ordered to close which gave them time to get their accounts in order before they reopened.
8 days after inauguration, he delivered an informal radio speech to the American people.
This was the first of many “fireside chats.”
They became an important way for his to communicate with the American people.
In the first chat, he explained the banking holiday and that Americans did not need to rush to the banks to withdraw money.
He had convinced them that banks were a safe place to keep their money.Restoring the Nation’s Confidence
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulated the stock market and made it a safer place for investments.
Runs on banks ended because confidence in the system was being restored.
Americans now believed that they would not lost their life savings in a bank failed.
The stock market also stabilized and regulation reassured investors.Reforming the Financial System
AAA provided financial aid, paying farmers subsidies not to plant part of their land and kill off excess stock.
By 1934, crop prices began to rise.Helping Farmers
After this, the majority of people had running water, electricity, and a proper sewage system.
The agency also replanted forests, built fertilizer plants, all which created jobs.
Private power companies complained that they could not compete with the TVA because the agency paid no taxes.
Socialism? Government control of business?TVA
They replanted forests, built trails, dug irrigation ditches, fought fires.
Extended work and training to Mexican Americans and other minority youth.
FDR’s favorite New Deal program.
Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA) granted federal funds to state and local agencies to help the unemployed.
$500 million appropriated represented the largest peacetime expenditure by the federal government.
Civil Works Administration (CWA) provided jobs on public-works projects.
Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) loaned money at low interest rates to homeowners who could not meet their mortgage payments.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured bank loans used for building and repairing homes.Industrial Recovery
Developed codes of fair competition to govern industries.
The codes established minimum wages for workers and minimum prices for the goods that business sold.
Congress wanted the codes to increase the wages of workers so they could buy more goods and raise prices so companies could make a profit.
Public Works Administration (PWA) built bridges, dams, power plants, and government buildings.
Improved the nations infrastructure while creating millions of jobs.Industrial Recovery
To conservatives, the New Deal was destroying free enterprise.
Huey Long, Louisiana Senator started a “share the wealth” program that proposed high taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, and the redistribution of their income to poor Americans.
Roosevelt actually considered Long a political threat.The Right Says “Too Much”
The theater, when it’s good, is always dangerous!
Orson Welles & John Houseman
WPA Travel Guides