CourseworkHelp Why did Franklin Rosevelt win the Presidential election in 1932?For the Ameican people the 1920s was a time of umlimited opportunities and wealth. America was the richest nation at this time and the wages of
many ordinary people rose while the prices of goods did not. At this time
the president was Harding, a strong Republican. But in 1923, in the midst of
this prosperous period Harding died and another republican-Coolidge became
president. This was when the American government started to set high tariffs
on all foreign goods entering America, which encouraged people to buy from
Amerca, as opposed to the rest of the world as this would be more expensive.
People were encouraged to spend their money and this very prosperous period
was built around luxuries such as the motor car. For example most Americans
were expected to own a radio or a washing machine as part of this time of
consumer industry. The 20s was also a golden age of comedy and cinema. For
those sections of society that were part of this boom life could not be
better. However some people such as farmers and black people missed out on
this good life because they could not afford it. Often a way for white
farmers to express their hatred for not sharing in America's boom was by
joining a secret group of criminals called the Klu Klux Clan. In 1919
politicians were persuaded to ban alcohol which was known as Prohibition.
But alcohol soon found its way into illegal bars and gangsters in this
business such as Al Capone made a fortune. In 1929 Herbert Hoover became
president and promised this prosperity to increase. But that same year was
the Wall street crash.
For sometime share prices had been steadilly increasing and being sold to
many Americans. But an awareness that shares would surely soon fall caused
people to start selling their shares which made other people follow as they
lost confidence. So people lost not only their investments but also lifelong
savings because of banks and insurance companies going bust and on the 29th
October there was a complete collapse. So every-one withdrew money from
their banks which caused even more to go bust. The 'Boom' was now over and
depression had come. Over twelve million Americans were unemployed and over
one million of these people could not pay off their mortgages and were
therefore homeless. The starving were forced to form 'breadlines' provided
by charities such as the salvation army and the homeless moved into shanty
towns made of corrugated iron and cardboard known as 'Hoovervilles'. Farmers
also went bankrupt and they tried to make up for their loss of income by
growing more crops but these now had to be sold at rock bottom prices. The
biggest protest made in 1932 was by ex-service men known as the bonus army.
These unemployed veterans stood outside the whitehouse in protest for months
waiting for their promised payments, and made Hoover look heartless.
Herbert Hoover who had worked hard after being orphaned at the age of
eight to become president in 1929. He was known to have little confidence
and when people realised that hi policies for dealing with the new deal were
too late they also began to think that he held empty promises: he had
claimed to provide 'a chicken in every pot'. People therefore lost hope in
Hoover and did not feel encouraged by him, as he once said: 'Nobody is
actually starving(!)'.The majority of Americans actually blamed Hoover for
the Depression. Roosevelt by contrast was enthusiastic, optimistic and
dynamically mastered. Frederick Delano Roosevelt was born in 1882 in a
mansion called Hyde Park. He was very well educated and was related to Teddy
Roosevelt which would have impressed many. Tall, handsome and athletic he
was once described as 'A second-class interlect- but a first-class
temperament' He was strenthened by experience as he had already been a
successful politician for a number of years. Roosevelt was paralysed from
his waist downwards from polio but no-one knew this, which shows his
strength and determination as he was once told that he would never walk
again. He caught the mood of voters with his New Deal promise and people
were prepared to risk the change in style of government-they had nothing to
loose. Interfering with economy had never been done before and Roosevelt
intended to create jobs by spending more money, whereas Hoover believed in
'Self Help'. The people of America were now given a new hope from Roosevelt.
In November 1932 Roosevelt was elected president and was welcomed by cheers
and song from the hopefull crowds.
2) Explain how Roosevelt's New deal attempted to solve America's economic
and social problems 1933-38.
According to the American Constitution Roosevelt was not allowed to
become president until 4 months after the election. These months, during
which Hoover continued to govern America were known as the 'Lame Duck period
'. Diring these months Hoover worked very hard but unfortunately his lame
duck policies failed and the Depression grew worse and by March 1933 every
bank in America was closed. During the first hundred days Roosevelt worked
furiosly hard. One of his first actions was to close the banks which stopped
the panic and gave time for the accounts of all the banks to be inspected.
Roosevelt managed to overcome the banking crisis with his 'fireside chats'
over the radio. He persuaded people that it was now safe to use the banks
and people regained their confidence and started to deposit money into them
again. Roosevelt was determined to pull America out of the depression and to
stop people loosing their homes and as a result many new laws came flooding
out of Washington. For example
one of the most important of these agencies was the Agricultural Adjustment
agency (also known as the AAA) whose main aim was to over come problems
facing farmers such as farm production and prices. This was successful as it
modernised farms a great deal. This 'Alphabet soup of laws' also included
the Federal Relief Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps which
were also successful.
The Tenessee Valley was a large area which cut through seven different
states. Often the river flooded and there was also the problem of soil
erosion. So Roosevelt set up the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) which
built dams across the river. This organisation was vastly successful and not
only were the prople of this area's living conditions improved but also many
jobs were created.
Roosevelt who was very much enjoying being president, was turning despair
into hope. The extreme measures that he introduced during his first 100 days
had an immediate effect on America. Roosevelt now wanted his New deal to go
further so he introduced the second new deal which begun in 1935. This was
not quite as successful as the first term but it still managed to employ many
workers for example through 'The Works Progress Administration' and social
security benefits were provided for many. But unfortunately before long
the New Deal was meeting opposition from the Supreme Court and in May 1935
it declared the New recovery act unconstitutional. There was also a sense
that the country had not yet totally returned to its prosperous days and
people such as republicans started to turn against him as they thought the
rest of the country should be given a chance. It was also critisised by tax
payers because the new deal inevitably increased taxes. Roosevelt was
sucessful to a large extent, but a small amount of problems still persisted,
for exemple unemployment was not totally cured.
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