The Lives of Many Americans Improved during the 1930’s: “The New Deal”

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The New Deal’s aim was to reduce unemployment and kick start the virtuous circle or in other words get back to the levels of unemployment in the time of the boom. It is hard to specify if the New Deal was a success or a failure. The New Deal worked for some and be a misery for others so one cannot say categorically that the New Deal worked or did not work.

The New Deal did improve some Americans lives the 1930’s.Unemployed workers that received jobs from the WPA benefited. The WPA gave jobs such as new roads and airport building. It paid people to write books and this had a knock on effect.

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As people got money for jobs so this introduced demand for goods which provide new jobs for people selling the goods.The WPA was not the only scheme to provide jobs the CCC also provided jobs to the unmarried men aged 18 and 25 whose parents were out of work. They were given necessities as well as $25 a month and a dollar a day in pocket money. The money they received they could not spend as they worked in camps in forests so they gave their money to their parents.

The aimed to benefit farmers. They reduced the size of farmer’s crops by wasting them. Thus they were paid money for doing less work. With fewer crops the price of the crops remained high and so farmers received more money.

Something that showed that Roosevelt was not unpopular but popular was the fact that a staff of fifty people were acquired to handle the thousands of letters written to the president each week.The New Deal was not all good and in contrast the New Deal caused problems for the rich. The rich were the people becoming less well off due to the New Deal. With all these schemes about, the money had to come from somewhere and this was in the form of taxes.

Taxes rose to provide money for new schemes. As many people were unemployed there only seemed one place that the money could come from this was the rich and so the rich had to suffer. A quote from Harper’s Magazine 1935 says;’As a social and economic class we, who have lived or tried to live in any part on money saved are being liquidated’At the other end of the social scale Sharecroppers also suffered. They got a share of the money when crops were produced.

As the ordered fewer crops to be produced the Sharecroppers receive less money. The only money that was being made was by the farm owners and neither the labourers nor the Sharecroppers received much of anything. As the owners were paid to produce less so the farm owners did not need as many labourers. So some labourers lost jobs.

Businessmen and factory owners were angry because they had to pay a lot of wages further more let the workers be part of a union. They had to pay them a minimum wage. The money was coming from the rich and the did not benefit as they were paying out large amounts of money to Roosevelt in the form of taxes. So this disfavoured him and the New Deal in the eyes of the rich.

The factory owners thought the workers were being favoured more than them as they thought that the New Deal was anti business and hated Roosevelt. As became clear from an article in time magazine, April 1936;’Regardless of party with few exceptions, members of the so called upper class frankly hated Franklin Roosevelt’. A little girl said the radio was turned on to announce the president’s death. Everyone in the room cheered.

‘This showed that Roosevelt was beginning to grow unpopular.The New Deal did not give black people jobs but it did give them money and this benefited the blacks. The black people of Chicago believed that Roosevelt and his New Deal were working and to confirm this a magazine poll in 1938 revelled that 84 percent of the black people living in Chicago supported Roosevelt. The number of black people on relief increased from around 18 percent in October 1933 to 30 percent in January 1935.

So in the end black people benefited from the New Deal.Farmers in the areas of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and south Dakota had a severe drought between 1932 and 1936. These areas were some of America’s main farming region’s. The farmers were so bad that they were referred to as Dust Bowls.

Roosevelt tried to help but for these farmers the New Deal was not going to improve their lives. As the farmers were facing starvation they moved to the cities to look for work. This did not make the situation better, in fact it made it worse. A quote from Lorena Hickok says that people were;’Living in colonies of tents or shackles built of cardboard with no sanitation what so ever.

There were a good deal of sickness in some camps last winter’People in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) made a number of programmes to combat soil erosion in many states but this did not help the people in the dust bowl.The New Deal gave help to farmers in certain areas, it did not help all the farmers. In the 1030’s for the first time unskilled workers joined a trade union(CIO) they did not need Roosevelt to be better off. Millions of workers joined trade unions for the first time and in 1937 the CIO started a serious of sit-down strikes in many of America’slargest companies.

The conflicts were violent but in the end the workers gained better wages etc and they thanked themselves and they had done it for them selves. A Boston newspaper said that out of the population of 30,000, hundreds got pay rises under the wage hour law.The New Deal failed to end the Depression. From 1936 roosevelt had run out of ideas on how to find work for the millions without jobs.

It looked another world war to boost government spending to a level that would bring back employment to America. Support for Roosevelt dropped sharply when the us economy slummed into a all new depression. Within a year unemployment had risen by 2.5 million.

In 1938 Roosevelt started a new spending programme. But a year later there were still more then 10 million people unemployed.The New Deal reduced unemployment to an extent.From 1933 to 1939 the New Deal helped unemployment by dropping nearly half of it. The fall in unemployment was not continuous it rose a little in 1938. Ironically, it was the war rather than the New Deal which brought prosperity back into America. The little unpopularity went by quickly. To millions of Americans, Roosevelt was the man who had given them jobs and saved their homes and farms.

In 1936 they re-elected him by the largest majority of votes in the country’s history.World war 2 was the reason why unemployment plummeted and also why the lives of millions of Americans improved. The war helped of course because of rearmament. Millions were employed in the army and also they were employed building more battle ships and air craft.

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The Lives of Many Americans Improved during the 1930’s: “The New Deal”. (2017, Nov 15). Retrieved from