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The Roosevelt Administration: Assignment

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Assignment A: Question 1
Did Roosevelt’s upbringing, background and character make it easy for him to understand the concerns and fears of ordinary Americans? Explain your answer. To understand if Roosevelt knew and understood the problems fears and concerns we have to take a look at him and his upbringing. Roosevelt was born in 1882 to a rich family of land owners, who were privileged, had good connections and were financially secured. He grew up in a rich environment were friends and other families had a lot of money as well. It is said that his mother was quiet protective and fact is that Roosevelt was teached at home meaning he had no connection to ordinary Americans. Ordianary Americans at the time were no where near him in terms of social class and money and so how could Roosevelt possibly understand the needs of ordinary Americans? Private teaching again was a privilege which was reserved for very rich families at the time. This made it difficult for him to understand some of the problems about the American education because some problems can only be realized when one experience them. He also never experienced any problems to do with money or finding a job since everything was laid to his feet Roosevelt then went to Harvard University where he could maybe experience some of the problems of education but again Harvard University is not a University for ordinary people.

Hardly anyone back then without a lot of money was able to visit Harvard University. After University he married his cousin Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905. Eleanor was the daughter of Elliott Roosevel who was the brother of Theodor Roosevelt who again was the President of America from 1901 to 1909. This meant to Franklin had really good connections which probably smoothed his way to become a successful Politian meaning he didn’t have to work for it. Roosevelt joined the American Democratic Party because there were already Roosevelt’s in the Republican Party. On the other side, his character did help Roosevelt. To become part of the New York State Senate Roosevelt drove around in his car, giving speeches and talking to people which soon made him a well-known person. He was an excellent speaker which is an attribute that is very important to rise in the ranks of a Politian.

While he traveled around he surely got to know some of the problems and concerns of the ordinaryAmericans there are many occasions where he went to the people and asked them about their problems and  concerns. When Roosevelt was stricken by polio at the age of 39 it looked quiet bad for his career but he never lost determination and even though he had to use a wheelchair he still went on. This could have also brought him closer to the ordinary Americans since he actually had to fight for something. I think that Roosevelts background didn’t help him at all to understand ordinary Americans since during his childhood he was never in the position of ordinary Americans. His upbringing also didn’t really help him since he came from a rich family with good connections and so there was no one in the family who was on the same level as an ordinary American. On the other side his character game him a big advantage since he was a good speaker and cared about the people, or at least he listened to their concerns.

2. How far was Roosevelt himself responsible for his election victory in 1932? Explain your answer. In during the Presidential elections in 1932 in America, two candidate were running for the President. It was Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Democratic party and Herber Hoober for the Republican Party. During the time of the election, America was shocked by the Depression, everyone had lost some of their prosperity, so everyone was looking for a president who would guide them through the Depression and restore prosperity. The two candidates had very different believes about how to deal with the Depression. Hoover believed that the government should not interfere with peoples lives; that people should work hard on their own to restore prosperity. In contrast stood Roosevelt who believed that it was the government’s job to fight the problems of depression, create jobs and even directly giving money to the poor. First of all, Franklin D. Roosevelt was appealing to his voters using a wide variety of techniques, campaigning and using his natural talent as a talker. He was very aggressive towards Hoover’s actions, condemning them and blaming him for the Depression. Since he clear showed that he disliked Hoover he was also favorites by many who disliked Hoover.

Using his talent as a talker was famous technique he used. Roosevelt would travel through the US by train or car, show himself to people and give speeches and just talk to people. In these speeches he again condemned Hoovers actions and could bring his point of view to many Americans. This further encouraged the public view that he was an energetic men and that he was really into people’s concerns and problems. He talked a lot about a New Deal that would change everything, without specifying what it actually was. Something that might sound bad in the beginning was actually a very smart move of him. By being unspecific nobody could really criticize his ideas and so people hardly ever heard anything bad about Roosevelt’s ideas. That was important as people started to believe that there was nothing bad about Roosevelt’s ideas. Roosevelt was involved in politics almost right after finishing University unlike Hoover who had been in the mining business for much of his live. It had been during Hoovers being the President that the US was hit by the Depression. He had failed to fight the problem correct as many people believed.

Therefore the Americans were not necessarily prepared to vote for him for another term. The dynamic personality which Roosevelt showed was a fresh change which was appreciated by many Americans, his ideas clashed with the self-help beliefs of Hoover. I believe that it was more of like the Republicans losing than the Democrats winning. On the other side it was surprising that Hoover wasn’t revoted since it had been Hoover who also brought the economic boom which gave prosperity to the American people. But during the Depression, all the positive feelings for him disappeared as many families lost everything. The shanty town, these families had to move to, were even called Hoovervilles. Roosevelt was quiet responsible for being voted as he had a big campaign, traveling a lot and building up a personal relationship to many people but he had help. He surly did a lot to be voted but some histories do say that he didn’t win but Hoover lost. Hoover was very unpopular with his uncaring, cold hearted personality that he seemed to present each time he spoke in public. The thought that Hoover had caused the Depression and destroyed many businesses was also wide spread. On the other side Roosevelt still had to convince the people who just always really voted for the Republicans without caring what their policies were.

3. Life did get better for Americans in the 1930’s. How far was Roosevelt himself responsible for this, or was it due to other factors? Explain your answer. In 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt became president, American was in a huge crises. Unemployment had risen to about 14 million, shops and banks were closing and many people were ruined. On the other hand, by 1940 the economy had recovered again. How far is FDR responsible for this and how much did the New Deal contribute to it? The speeches given by FDR during his elections were filled with new hope for the future, inspiring many Americans. FDR revealed his plans for the new deal which aimed to bring three things. Relief, Relieve the poor, feed the starving and stop people losing their homes or farms. Recovery, reviving the economy, getting people to work again and helping the industry. Reform by making America a better place for ordinary people to live. The first New Deal was an emergency act made by Roosevelt during his Hundred Day phase in which the congress gave him emergency powers, the same powers he would have received if the country had been invaded.

This New Deal was temporary to quickly stop or slow down the crisis so that long term plans could be made. So called alphabet agencies were set up which included organizations like the FCA, the AAA, the CCC and many more. These created emergency relief for the once who had been hit worst and created desperately needed jobs. The FCA and AAA (Farm Credit Administration, Agricultural Adjustment Agency) were aimed to primarily help the farmers who had been hit by the dust blows or by sinking prices for farm goods. The lower the prices sunk, the more farmers produced, making the prices sink even lower. Especially the AAA helped the second problem by buying lots of farm goods and farm animals and destroying them to reduce the amount of food on the market. They also paid farmers to use only part of their fields so that the amount of food on the market was less. The next group was aimed to provide more jobs, temporarily and long term so that fewer people were unemployed. The CCC, CWA and PWA (Civilian Conservation Corps, Civilian Works Administration and Public Works Administration) were designed for this task. The CCC provided jobs for men under 25.

They improved the nature by planting trees against the dust blows or by strengthening river banks. They received food and clothing and $1 a day which they would send home. It was aimed to provide jobs. The CWA was just providing short term jobs like building roads but also useless jobs like sweeping up leaves in parks. The PWA would build public buildings like bridges or schools again creating new jobs but at the cost of about $7 billion. The next group was aimed to help people directly. The FERA and the HOLC (Federal Emergency Relief Administration, Home Owners Loan Corporation) were giving this taks. The FERA helped by creating soup kitchens and providing clothing for homeless. The HOLC gave money to over a million people so that they would lose their house. The next Agency was a very critical one, the NRA (National Recover Administration). It was mostly aimed to improve working conditions for workers. It tried to make Employees and employers work hand in hand but many big businesses hated it as it gave a lot of rights to the workers like forming trade unions and forbidding child labor. Businesses agreeing with the terms of the NRA were allowed to have the blue eagle on their products. The public was then encouraged to mostly buy products with a blue eagle. As said, the First New Deal was only for immediate actions, a Second Deal was introduced in 1935.

This Deal was aiming to provide a Long-Term aid to the people, helping to fully recover from the depression and generally aimed to improve peoples lives. It again consisted of Agencies but also general Laws. Similar to the PWA, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) was aimed to provide a job for about two million people. These build up the American infrastructure and improved the environment. Part of this Agency also created projects for artists, writers actors and musicians. This partly raised the moral of the Americans since suddenly you could find sculptures in many public parks as well as many new songs being writing. The Social Security Act was something which had been adopted by other countries long ago. It was aimed to help the old, the sick and the unemployed.

Until then Americans thought that individuals should take care of themselves. The Social Security Act gave pensions to old people and supported handicapped people. To Help the general worker, the Wagner Act was set up which prevented employers from ransacking workers and to encourage the formations of trade unions. This was not welcomed by most employers but improved the situation for the workers. It was like a Long-Term NRA. After the AAA had helped the farmers to come back up on their feet, the Resettlement administration and the Farm Security Administration were set up to support the sharecroppers, tenants and farm workers whose situation had worsened by the AAA since there had been less work. Nethertheless the situation for this group stayed bad, and these two agencies did not help that much.

How powerful these Agencies could be can be seen when looking at the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) which was set up to rebuild the Tennessee Valley, a huge strip of land cutting through seven states. It was a very poor area due to flooding and soil erosion. The TVA controlled this by building dams and taking measures to improve the soil. All the dams together created so much electricity that many companies moved into the Tennessee Valley due to low energy costs. This gave an entire region a chance to recover. Looking at all these agencies we can clearly see how much Rossevelt had done to improve the situation. The Downside to this though is that these Agencies needed to be constantly fed with money. One can argue that without the Second World War, which created a huge market for the U.S. and gave a lot of jobs, the Depression could have not been solved. Despite that, Roosevelt seemed the better of the two solutions, since Hoover didn’t want to help the Americans but wanted them to help themselves.

Hoover did help to solve the great depression too though, while being president he invested into a lot of public buildings and helped key companies to stay in business like the Hoover Dam. He just didn’t want to pump money into every business. There were also a lot of charities which were spread all over the country. These charities helped to improve the situation by distributing good and clothes, providing shelter and sometimes even giving out money. Local communities also contributed to help fight the depression, like the charities, they distributed food to the people, provided clothes and shelter and supported poor members of the community. Life did generally improve for ordinary Americans in the 1930’s after Roosevelt was elected. This was mostly due to the many emergency action Roosevelt undertook. On the other side there were other people who contributed to improve live as well. The most famous actions were put into work by Roosevelt thought.

Source analysis
1. Use Source A and your knowledge of the period to explain why people supported Roosevelt in the 1932 election. The elections of 1932 in America had one main topic, who was going to solve the Depression. Roosevelt held some great speeches about how he would solve the problems of the Depression and an extract of one of these is given to us in Source A. It starts with a very important sentence,”I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a New Deal for the American people”. The topic is the great the Depression and Roosevelt is promising to the American people to create a New Deal which will get rid of the Depression. Even though something politions say in their campaign cannot necessarily be taken seriously, pledging is a very strong word. He also mentions a call to arms, which suggests that he wants to fight the Depression but will only be able to do so with the help of the American people.

Even though Hoover had only been President for four years, many people were not agreeing with Hoover about his ideas of self-helping and in this Source Roosevelt clearly states that his Government would provide money to ordinary people. Roosevelt was a very talented speaker, unlike Hoover he didn’t just give one or two speeches but drove around the country to talk to people and give them the impression that he cared for each one of them. It is interesting to see that at the same time Hitler, in Germany, did the same thing in order to be voted. He drove around the country as well and gave great speeches. Now they obviously had very different ideas but they had the same techniques to convince people. The speeches Roosevelt gave provided the people with the hope they needed to vote for him. Roosevelt, in many people’s opinion would actually help them unlike Hoover who just wanted the economy to help themselves.

2) Study Sources B and C.
How do these two judgments on the New Deal differ?
While Source B shows the upside, Source C points out the downsides of the New Deal. Before looking at each side it’s important to note though that America was in a huge crisis which left very little room for Roosevelt to maneuver and actions which today might seem stupid might have been the only possibilities. Source B is what a person often thinks as first reaction when reading about the great Depression and how Roosevelt handeled it. Especially in the beginning it seems like Roosevelt did a great job, all these great facts about how standards of living increased again. And it is true, Roosevelt gave millions a work, saved them from loosing their house and tackled the problem of food being too expensive or not available before America could fall into a famine. When we look at Source C, suddenly we see the downside of the New Deal, especially how much money America had spend on the Alphabet agencies and how only the war really saved America. Now the question whether or not the New Deal was a fail depends on the viewpoint. But these two sources clear look at it from different angles, Source B on how it helped the American population while Source C looks at long term effects potential risks. So the two sources strongly disagree over the success of Roosevelt, each one brining good arguments to prove their point. Source B is in favor and Source C in against the New Deal.

3. Study Source D
What message do you think the photographer was trying to give? Refer to the photograph and your knowledge of the period to help you explain your answer. Source D is a photograph which was taken in 1937. This photograph is very ironic, in many ways, looking at the situation of 1937 in America. The Black people were not yet really accepted, had fewer rights. When the photograph was taken, America had started the process of recovering from the great depression. People started to gain hope again that prosperity would return. Unemployment had shrunken due to the Alphabet agencies and most could at least afford food and clothes. Living standards had risen again. However, the black community in America was not part of this recovery.

Since they didn’t have the same rights as most whites, employees would rather employ white workers, making it very difficult for any black people to find any jobs. The fact that in the photograph you can only see black people looking for government relief underlines this fact. It is very ironic as well since in 1937 the situation around the Depression was still quiet bad, most people would not be able to afford such a car or the clothes that the people on the poster wear. The standards were not that high yet, surly not the highest of the world. The most important thing the photographer was trying to show is in my opinion the poverty of the black community and the disadvantages they had. The photographer might have found it interesting putting a poster about high standards of living next to the queue of a government relief station. It could even been seen as humiliation towards the blacks and poor who need government relive, but I think it was just forgotten.

4. Study Sources E, F and G
Are these cartoons for or against Roosevelt? Explain your answer with reference to the cartoons. Source E is clear against the action of Roosevelt, the pump in the cartoon represents the term priming the pump which means that money has to be invested into the economy to get it to work again. This originally comes from old pumps, where you had to poor water in first to get more water out. That is exactly what FDR is doing in the poster, pooring water, which represents the money, into a pump, which is the economy. Unfortunatly, the pump has a lot of holes causing most of the water to escape the pump again. So FDR is pooring in more. This represents him spending billions of dollars on the different Alphabet Agencies without, in some peoples opinion, any result. Source F on the other side is pro Roosevelt, it shows FDR has a young, strong man, who seems to be ready for anything and everything. In the cartoon he is carring a huge trashcan. In it you can see a lot of trash, which is labled with the different ideas of Hoover like Rugged Individualism. This hints that FDR wants to completely reform the country, getting rid of most if not all of Hoovers ideas, creating his own. It makes Hoovers ideas look old and out of fashion. In contrast to this we see FDR, full of energy, trying to improve the country. 5. Study sources H and I

Which source is the more useful as evidence about public opinion towards the New Deal? Explain your answer. First thing to note is that we cannot say for sure that source H is actually a letter sent to the president. Since it was used in the election campaign we don’t know if the democrats just made up the letter. Of course it is biased, they would never put up a letter for their campaign which could harm them. Furthermore we only know of one person which is not enough to determine what the average American is thinking. It has to be noted thought that Roosevelt did help people back up and so what was described in the letter could have easily been true. Source I could also be created by the Democrats or the singer was payed by them but it’s not as likely, it’s more likely that the singer simply looked at what the people wanted to hear, which was what Roosevelt talked about and then created a song to that. Even if we assume that Source H is an actual letter, we only have the opinion of one person, who has been helped by one of the Agencies.

This doesn’t gives us the opinion of the majority of the people in America. Then we have Source I which is a song or at least an excerpt of it. We don’t know if it was created by the democrats but that is not actually that important since it was a very popular song in America in 1936. That shows us that many Americans probably agreed with what was said in the song, or at least the majority. The song talks about how the Americans, now that FDR is President, don’t have to be afraid anymore. It seems like most people liked the New Deal in that sense. I think that Source I is much more useful for finding out about the public opinion towards the New Deal since the song is popular and therefor many people must agree with it. Both sources praise Roosevelt though, making it sound like everyone agreed with the New Deal.

6 Study Sources J and K
Why do you think these two people disagree about the New Deal? Explain your answer. There was a huge contrast between Hoovers time as President and Roosevelts, people who believed in the ideas of Hoover were taken by surprise when suddenly Roosevelt would give them money and work, some surly felt that they didn’t have to work anymore. Hoovers idea had always been that people have to work to earn something, they now had the feeling that they would receive money anyway. They were afraid people would not work as hard anymore. Source J argues that Roosevelt was always given everything he wants and so he thinks that’s the best solution. But Fuller, the author of this source, maybe never had the chance to experience how it can be to be given help. So Fuller only know one side too. Maybe he is right, but he has the same experience as Roosevelt, he only knows one side. Source J disagrees with the idea that its bad to help the people by investing money. It argues that the New Deal had provided ordinary people with another chance.

People who had lost their shops, their homes, their money, or their work didn’t know what to do and it is understandable that Roosevelt couldn’t just let those people starve. Roosevelt seemed to have understood the problem of the Depression as he especially helped the people who had very few money in the beginning. He knew that the rich had been hit badly too but at least they had something left, unlike ordinary people. That’s why so many people loved Roosevelt. These are the two general opinions about the New Deal, there were surly more details but these two sources represent the general idea of what the Americans thought. 7. Study the following interpretations of the effects of the New Deal. Even today, histories have different opinions about the New Deal, although it is almost 85 years since it was put into action. The New Deal was a measure to prevent America from completely being wrecked by the depression which hit America 1929. Roosevelt didn’t have years to think about the best solution but had to act quickly when he was elected in 1932. It’s important to note that before looking at the pros and cons of the New Deal. During his campaign, Roosevelt announced that action should be taken now and that he would take action if he was elected. He didn’t actually know how or how much it would costs.

When he was elected he had to then take action. The economy was in such a terrible state that there was no other solution than supporting the economy with government money. Otherwise there would have probably been a famine as people would have run out of food. Roosevelt worked together with a set of experts called brain trust. This brain trust was meant to work out the best solution for the problem. Later people said there were surely other actions, but since the senate and the House of Representatives were prepared to give Roosevelt extreme power we can assume that no other solution was known or at least no solution that was in any way better than the New Deal as we know it. These powers were only given in extreme situations. It was important to provide food and shelter for people in the first place, otherwise there would have been a famine and maybe even a revolution.

The agencies which were set up did consume a lot of money but they gave work, food, shelter and money to the people. People started hoping again. Only people with hope will work at their full potential, if there is no hope why should they work hard. The result shows us that it did work out since a lot of people had work again and the economy wasn’t doing too bad anymore. As we have seen in other sources before, there were downsides to the New Deal like America having huge debts and the New Deal didn’t save America in Long-term effects, the war did, but it saved America from collapsing in 1932. Looking at the evidence I think that 7i is better supported by my knowledge and the sources than ii. It was important to take quick measurements in 1932 and Roosevelt did.

8. Use the sources and your knowledge of American history to explain why there has been so much disagreement in the USA over the effects of the New Deal.

The New Deal, which is a set of laws introduced by Roosevelt in 1932, has from the beginning on been heavily discussed about. It was introduced by Roosevelt to fight the Great Depression which hit the US in 1929. The Great Depression caused many people to lose their job, making the unemployment count jump. By 1932, many people could hardly afford their food and many were about to lose their houses since they couldn’t pay the loan anymore. The people had lost hope and their President, Hoover, didn’t help the situation since he thought that people should help themselves. Roosevelt used the promise of solving the Great Depression as one of his main aims during his elective campaign 1932. He was a talented speaker and with lots of enthusiasm and promises he won the elections. He didn’t actually quiet know how he could solve the Depression when he was elected. So he put together a set of experts called brain trust, who then worked out a set of laws and agencies which had to be set up in order to get America back on its feet. Obiously there wasn’t any simply method otherwise Hoover would have solved the Depression in 1929 already.

There are always downsides to a solution of such large scale especially if it has to be found so quickly. So when the New Deal was created it didn’t immediately help everyone, the once it didn’t help obviously didn’t like it therefor. But the main critique came after WWII when the Great Depression had long been solved and people looked back at the New Deal. Although it might seem great at first, people were given jobs, and money to buy food and keep their houses, the industry and the banks received government money to build up, it all cost. Like everything costs money, but these costs were on a much large scale, Source C even claims that depth in America had risen from $19 billion to $250 billion. That is obviously a gigantic increase but what was the money used for?

It was used for giving people work, food, clothes and a shelter. The Government of a country is meant to make sure that the people have everything necessary for living. That’s exactly what Roosevelt used the money for. Another reason why there have been so many disagreements is the actually result. As some sources have suggested the unemployment had increased again by 1938, so only the war saved America since Roosevelt could solve the unemployment by sending many men into war and by creating war goods. It is difficult to argue this since we don’t know what would have happened without the war. We can only suggests, maybe America wouldn’t have recovered as fast but important was that Roosevelt took immediate measures.
Without these America wouldn’t have been able to enter the war because its economy would have been wrecked.

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