My name is Rebecca Harper and I am a South Carolina History teacher at Aiken Middle School. I teach one eighth grade class of history which focuses on U. S. History as well. This class allows students to study historical developments and events in their own state as well as important and relevant content that pertains to the United States.
As the United States entered The Great Depression, many changes began to take place in the country's landscape. Politicians and government figures were looking for solutions to the problems that occurred as a result of the war and the stock market crash. Conditions in the U.S. continued to worsen and the unemployment rate skyrocketed.
At Franklin D. Roosevelt's inaugural address he stated, "This Nation asks for action, and action now." He announced a special session of Congress known as the Hundred Days. During this time, Congress began to develop programs and solutions to battle the depression. These programs together became known as the New Deal.
One of the first goals of the New Deal was to re-establish the citizens' confidence in the American banking system. He ordered all banks to temporarily close and three days later Congress approved the Emergency Banking Act. This law allowed the government to inspect each banks' finances. In addition, Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which protected bank accounts. FDR wanted the American people to know that their money was safe in the bank.
Unemployment was a huge issue during this time. The New Deal established several government programs such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), that were provided relief for poor and unemployed families. In addition, Congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) which provided aid for farmers.
The New Deal was comprised of these and other government programs. While these programs were developed to help the country recover from the depression, it was not without criticism. Some critics felt that FDR and the government went to far with the New Deal by adding so many new programs. They thought that FDR was taking his position as president too far and that these new programs would bankrupt the country. Others thought that the New Deal didn't do enough for the country and that the government should take a greater role in the social and economic recovery of the country.
Later, in 1934, Roosevelt proposed new government programs which he called the Second New Deal. These programs included the Works Progress Agency (WPA), the Social Security Act, which helped the elderly, disabled, and children, and the unemployed.
Although the New Deal was meant to resuscitate the economy, it had many critics. Some blamed the programs for causing labor strikes and stated that some of the programs were unconstitutional. When the economy entered a recession in 1937, Roosevelt lost many of his New Deal supporters. Despite the controversy, these programs remain synonymous with his presidency.
Go to Mrs. Harper's Lesson Page
Go to The New Deal Links Page
http://rpsec.usca.sc.edu/Classwork/731XXX/Lesson/Harper/lesson2.html (February, 2004)
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