Wm Arthur Conklin Greg White Biography & Facts
The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs and agencies included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). They provided support for farmers, the unemployed, youth and the elderly. The New Deal included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply. New Deal programs included both laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders during the first term of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The programs focused on what historians refer to as the "3 R's": relief for the unemployed and poor, recovery of the economy back to normal levels, and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression. The New Deal produced a political realignment, making the Democratic Party the majority (as well as the party that held the White House for seven out of the nine presidential terms from 1933 to 1969) with its base in liberal ideas, the South, big city machines and the newly empowered labor unions, and various ethnic groups. The Republicans were split, with conservatives opposing the entire New Deal as hostile to business and economic growth and liberals in support. The realignment crystallized into the New Deal coalition that dominated presidential elections into the 1960s while the opposing conservative coalition largely controlled Congress in domestic affairs from 1937 to 1964.
Summary of First and Second New Deal programs
By 1936, the term "liberal" typically was used for supporters of the New Deal and "conservative" for its opponents. From 1934 to 1938, Roosevelt was assisted in his endeavors by a "pro-spender" majority in Congress (drawn from two-party, competitive, non-machine, progressive and left party districts). In the 1938 midterm election, Roosevelt and his liberal supporters lost control of Congress to the bipartisan conservative coalition. Many historians distinguish between a First New Deal (1933–1934) and a Second New Deal (1935–1936), with the second one more liberal and more controversial.
The First New Deal (1933–1934) dealt with the pressing banking crisis through the Emergency Banking Act and the 1933 Banking Act. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) provided $500 million ($10 billion today) for relief operations by states and cities, while the short-lived CWA gave locals money to operate Make-work projects in 1933–1934. The Securities Act of 1933 was enacted to prevent a repeated stock market crash. The controversial work of the National Recovery Administration (NRA) was also part of the First New Deal.
The Second New Deal in 1935–1936 included the National Labor Relations Act to protect labor organizing, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) relief program (which made the federal government the largest employer in the nation), the Social Security Act and new programs to aid tenant farmers and migrant workers. The final major items of New Deal legislation were the creation of the United States Housing Authority and the FSA, which both occurred in 1937; and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which set maximum hours and minimum wages for most categories of workers. The FSA was also one of the oversight authorities of the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration, which administered relief efforts to Puerto Rican citizens affected by the Great Depression.The economic downturn of 1937–1938 and the bitter split between the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) labor unions led to major Republican gains in Congress in 1938. Conservative Republicans and Democrats in Congress joined the informal conservative coalition. By 1942–1943, they shut down relief programs such as the WPA and the CCC and blocked major liberal proposals. Nonetheless, Roosevelt turned his attention to the war effort and won reelection in 1940–1944. Furthermore, the Supreme Court declared the NRA and the first version of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) unconstitutional, but the AAA was rewritten and then upheld. Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953–1961) left the New Deal largely intact, even expanding it in some areas. In the 1960s, Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society used the New Deal as inspiration for a dramatic expansion of liberal programs, which Republican Richard Nixon generally retained. However, after 1974 the call for deregulation of the economy gained bipartisan support. The New Deal regulation of banking (Glass–Steagall Act) lasted until it was suspended in the 1990s.
Several New Deal programs remain active and those operating under the original names include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The largest programs still in existence today are the Social Security System and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Economic collapse (1929–1933)
From 1929 to 1933 manufacturing output decreased by one third, which economist Milton Friedman called the Great Contraction. Prices fell by 20%, causing deflation that made repaying debts much harder. Unemployment in the United States increased from 4% to 25%. Additionally, one-third of all employed persons were downgraded to working part-time on much smaller paychecks. In the aggregate, almost 50% of the nation's human work-power was going unused.Before the New Deal, deposits at banks were not insured. When thousands of banks closed, depositors lost their savings as at that time there was no national safety net, no public unemployment insurance and no Social Security. Relief for the poor was the responsibility of families, private charity and local governments, but as conditions worsened year by year demand skyrocketed and their combined resources increasingly fell far short of demand.The depression had devastated the nation. As Roosevelt took the oath of office at noon on March 4, 1933, all state governors had authorized bank holidays or restricted withdrawals—many Americans had little or no access to their bank accounts. Farm income had fallen by over 50% since 1929. An estimated 844,000 non-farm mortgages had been foreclosed between 1930–1933, out of five million in all. Political and business leaders feared revolution and anarchy. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., who remained wealthy during the Depression, stated years later that "in those days I felt and said I would be willing to part with half of what I had if I could be sure of keeping, under law and order, the other half".
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