During the Depression Roosevelt tried one economic cure after another--heavy spending, public works, direct relief, the NRA Codes, the Blue Eagle campaigns, regulation of industry, restrictions on spending.
"He understood," Garry Wills noted, "the importance of psychology--the people have to have the courage to keep seeking a cure, no matter what the cure is. Those who wanted ideological consistency or even policy coherence, were rightly exasperated with Roosevelt. He switched economic plans as often as he changed treatments for polio."
And while the New Deal did not overcome the Depression--it took World War II to fully mobilized the economy--the multiplicity of government programs kept the people going, and in the process preserved the system of democracy at a time when so many other countries in similar despair were turning to fascism or communism.
(Character Above All: Franklin D. Roosevelt)
The term New Deal is commonly used in the United States to describe the domestic reform
agenda of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
; Roosevelt first used it in his speech accepting the Democratic Party
nomination for President in 1932. The New Deal is generally considered to have consisted of two phases. The first phase occurred from 1933 to 1934 and endeavored to provide recovery and relief from the Great Depression
through programs of” agricultural and business regulation, inflation, price stabilization, and public works”.
In 1933 Congress held special session to establish several emergency organizations, notably the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Public Works Administration. Congress also established farm relief, stiffened banking and finance regulations, and created the Tennessee Valley Authority.
As these relief and recovery measures to provide got off the ground the second phase of the New Deal was put into motion from1935 to 1941 with social and economic legislation to assist the mass of working people. The first year saw the establishment of the social security system along with the initiation of National Youth Administration and Work Projects Administration. By 1938 the Wages and Hours Act was passed into law.
The speed of reform relaxed by 1937 as Republican opposition emerged from the huge public spending, high taxes, and centralization of power in the executive branch of government. Among the Democratic party members there was strong condemnation from the “old guard” and from angry members of the Brain Trust.
At the end of World War II, most of the New Deal legislation was still intact and it remains the foundation for American social policy.
Character Above All: Franklin D. Roosevelt Essay: