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Roosevelt And The New Deal Argumentative

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1. USA in 1932 was in a state of depression and despair. After the Wall Street Crash in 1929, millions of jobs were lost and millions were left homeless and starving. Under the rule of President Hoover, the country’s condition continued to decline and people had lost all hope of a prosperous future. Ghettos were created and were given the name ‘Hoovervilles’, to mock the President.

Hoover believed in rugged-individualism, and he had a “laissez faire” attitude, which meant that the people had to help themselves to almost everything. There was no government organisation in place to help the poor and unemployed. Instead, Hoover thought that the problem would soon sort itself out without intervention. This however was not the case. People had lost faith in Hoover and needed something else to motivate and help them to find a new future. This came about in the 1932 election, when Franklin Roosevelt was running for President against Hoover.

Roosevelt offered a new hope to the people. His policies were the opposite to those of Hoover, and people saw this an opportunity to get out of the depression. Roosevelt believed in helping the poor and unemployed, and giving them a chance. This made people see that the only way out was to vote for Roosevelt. People also were motivated and stimulated by Roosevelt’s speeches.

He said “This is more than a political campaign; it is a call to arms. Give me your help, not to win votes alone, but to win in this crusade to restore America.” Sentences like this showed people that Roosevelt wanted to get the country out of the depression, that it had fallen victim to. It also encouraged patriotism, which gives people a reason to help the country to get out of the mess that it was in, and that this could be done by voting for Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was supported as he gave a hope to a failing country. Hoover’s policies had been in effect for 3 years and had not worked. In fact they had worsened the situation. Roosevelt was the obvious choice, as he offered a new hope to every American, and most importantly new ideas, and even if they were unproven to be effective, were better than the ideas of Hoover, which had only failed.

In conclusion, I believe that Roosevelt got more support in the 1932 election because he offered a new hope to the American people and he gave people the motivation they needed to reform the state that the failing country was in.

2. Sources B and C give very different opinions on Roosevelt and the New Deal. The sources are equally reliable and trustworthy as far as we are able to tell, as both sources are written in 1945, making them equally reliable in that perspective; and both sources are also written by American historians, for the same purposes – to educate – so only the opinion can affect the views of the writers of these sources, as far as we know. It is not stated what the social backgrounds of the writers are, for example, one view could be of a black, unemployed woman, and the other a white, well-off businessman. These 2 examples would be differently affected by Roosevelt’s changes and would therefore have a different opinion on them.

Source B is very complimentary of Roosevelt and the New Deal and does nothing but praise it. In contrast to this, Source C is very critical of Roosevelt and the New Deal.

Source B shows how Roosevelt tackled the problems of the depression. The writer says how self-confidence was restored to the people. It also talks about the change from “depression and discouragement to excitement and hope.” This shows how the situation changed when Roosevelt came to power. It is also written that “a more definite achievement has been the physical rebuilding of the country.” This was the scheme that created employment and also helped the physical structure of the country. The writer is showing how Roosevelt successfully rebuilt the country after it had been scarred by the depression. Unemployed people were recruited to build dams, bridges and roads, along with many other projects.

The writer also comments on how Roosevelt did not run the country as a dictatorship. He writs “The charge that Roosevelt has been a dictator is not true.”

The source displays the achievements of Roosevelt, but it only displays one person’s view of the period.

Source C is completely different in opinion to Source B. It is very critical of Roosevelt and the policies that he undertook. The writer says nothing about the changes made when Roosevelt came to power but focuses only on his late career as President and the after effects of his work. The source also criticises the fact that the country is in a debt of $250 billion, in 1945, compared to a pre-Roosevelt debt of $19 billion. Roosevelt is being unfairly blamed for this by the writer, as the country has just been engaged in a war, which cost a lot of money, so the New Deal cannot be proven to be a waste of money by this figure. The source also says that Roosevelt ran the country as a dictator, clashing with the views of the writer of Source B.

The reasons for the differences in judgement of the New Deal between sources B and C cannot be put down to one thing, as not enough is known about the writer’s backgrounds or political opinions.

In conclusion, the two source’s opinions on the New Deal differ dramatically in a number of ways. Source B focuses mainly on the early years of the New Deal and the short term effects, whilst source C focuses on the after effects of the New Deal, in 1945. The short term effects could be viewed as positive by both writers, along with the long term effects. The views could also be determined by the social backgrounds of the writers.

3. Source D shows a large poster depicting a white family living ‘the American dream’, driving a car, all smiling, with the quote “There’s no way like the American way”. Under the poster is a queue of black people, waiting for government relief, because they have no home, money or food.

This photograph is ironic as the poster is displaying how great American life is, for some, while others have to wait to be given government relief, as they are so poor. It also displays the racial inequalities that were and still are in place in America, as the white family have the car, but the black people queuing have next to nothing.

The aim of the photograph could be to show that the New Deal didn’t work for everyone, and that it didn’t solve all the problems. It could also be to raise awareness of how the black Americans are mistreated.

However, the source is not very reliable, as the photographer could have staged the picture to use as propaganda or just to put his message across. I think that the photograph is not a piece of propaganda because it is very possible that this scene would be a reality in 1930s USA due to racial inequalities. Although, it seems unlikely that the queue for government relief would be under a poster for a high standard of living.

This photograph is a source which could be used to criticize the New Deal, because it is displaying how the country is still in depression for some people, and that the New Deal hasn’t worked. It could also be criticising how the black people were being treated as inferior to white people.

4. Sources E, F and G are cartoons displaying ideas and thoughts about Roosevelt and the New Deal. All of the cartoons were created in the 1930s, which shows that they display the thoughts from that time period, during the depression.

Source E is clearly against the New Deal. It shows Roosevelt pouring water, from a bucket with a dollar sign on it, into a pump. The water represents money, supplied by the taxpayers. Roosevelt is saying “I hope this will make it work”. This represents how Roosevelt doesn’t have a plan of what the money will do, he is just hoping that it will have a positive effect . There is also a character, labelled as ‘The Taxpayer’ , straining to carry buckets of water, representing money, to Roosevelt. This character looks worn out and under strain. This shows how the taxpayers are struggling to pay their taxes, and how the American people are suffering.

The pump is labelled ‘The New Deal Pump’. This resembles the money that Roosevelt is putting into the New Deal. A lot of money is pouring out of the pump through leaks. This resembles money being wasted by Roosevelt. He can see that some of the money is wasted, as it is above the ground, but there are also leaks below the ground that Roosevelt doesn’t know about. This indicates that Roosevelt is wasting more money than he realises.

The basic message of Source E is that the taxpayers are struggling to supply the taxes, whilst Roosevelt is pouring their money into an unreliable and untested strategy.

Source F is for the New Deal. It shows a cheerful Roosevelt dispensing a bin full of Hoover’s old policies and ideas, such as ‘rugged individualism’. Walking away from the scene is a man with a bag displaying the initials ‘H.H’. This is presumed to be Herbert Hoover, who has just been evicted from being President, walking away from his old job.

The source was written in 1933, the year that Roosevelt became President. Sources E and G show what has happened to Roosevelt and the New Deal, but this source only shows what Roosevelt is doing as he comes to power. It shows the hope and optimism surrounding Roosevelt being voted in. It doesn’t show how well Roosevelt and the New Deal has done, as it was drawn at the time when Roosevelt had only just come to power.

Source G shows Uncle Sam, Roosevelt and the Congress. Uncle Sam is displayed as an ill, old man. Beside him is a table full of bottles of medicine, bearing the initials of government agencies that Roosevelt has set up. They portray these agencies as cures for the depression. Roosevelt is displayed as the Doctor visiting Uncle Sam. He carries a bag labelled as the “New Deal remedies”. He is saying “Of course we may have to change remedies if we don’t get results”. This shows that Roosevelt is experimenting lots of new ideas that he doesn’t know will work. The congress is resembled as a nurse, standing next to Roosevelt doing nothing.

This source could be interpreted in different ways. It could mean that Roosevelt is doing everything he can to help America, and that he is prepared to experiment with new ideas, even if he isn’t sure of the outcomes of his actions. The congress being represented as a Nurse could be interpreted as the congress working alongside Roosevelt to help him in a positive way. However, the cartoon could be interpreted as Roosevelt’s ideas failing, and that he expects more to fail. It could also resemble Roosevelt not knowing what to do next. The cartoon’s use of the congress as a nurse can also be seen as anti-Roosevelt, as the nurse is a lot weaker in terms of power compared to the doctor, and this can be interpreted as Roosevelt having too much power.

In conclusion, I believe that source E is against Roosevelt, source F is for Roosevelt, and source G could be interpreted as both for and against Roosevelt.

5. Sources H and I are both useful and not useful in different way. This is due, among other things, to how the reliable the sources are.

Source H is a letter that was used in Roosevelt’s 1936 election campaign. This is obviously going to be unreliable as it was used to persuade people, so it likely to be propaganda. This source can also be questioned about how genuine it is as no name or address of the writer is given, so it is very possible that it was forged to promote Roosevelt. It was also published by Roosevelt’s supporters, so it likely to have been carefully selected from lots of other letters, some of which would have been critical of Roosevelt. The letter is also unreliable as it only describes the view of 1 person, not the whole public opinion.

However, the letter does show that some people were happy with the performance, no matter how unreliable the letter is.

Source I is a song from in 1936, the same year as the letter was published; therefore the public opinion will be relatively the same for both sources. The reliability of this source is also in question as the name of the writer of the source is not given. The brief description also says that the song was ‘popular’, but it doesn’t state how popular, where it was popular or amongst whom it was popular. The song could have only been popular in one area, or only amongst areas were Roosevelt’s policies helped a lotof people. The song may have also only been popular because of its beat and rhythm, not because of what it was saying. Therefore, it wouldn’t reflect the views of many people. It is possible that the song was written as propaganda for Roosevelt, but it is more likely that a letter would be written, instead of a song.

The source is also reliable as it does state that it was popular, so it can only be presumed that it was well received amongst a lot of people. It may have only been popular because of what it was saying, not because it had a good tune.

In conclusion, I believe that source I is more reliable than source H because it states that the song was popular. No evidence is given that more than one person shared the views of the writer of source H, so it is very unreliable. Source H could easily be propaganda as no evidence of who the writer was is given. Although source I could also be propaganda, I don’t think that the government would have used music to spread their message, but I do think that a fake or carefully selected letter would have been used. I believe that source I is more reliable due to it being a song.

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