Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Did the New Deal successfully bring about relief, recovery and reform?



Sorry it took so long to get this posting up. Don't forget to mention both the book and the speakers in your comment.

28 comments:

Mrs. Cone said...

When my partner and I were assigned the con argument, we were a bit disappointed. Our initial thought was how could you argue that the New Deal did not provide relief, recovery, and especially reform? Granted, we saw at the onset that the level to which these goals were met might not have been high, but there were attempts and successes. Interestingly enough, both speakers shared with us that they align themselves with the con position, even though Dr. Shindo was taking the pro side for the day. We outlined some of the con arguments such as the fact that the agricultural programs slighted the sharecroppers and tenant farmers in the south and Native Americans in the West. Kristy also pointed out that the FSA only gave out 6000 loans, which was a small percentage in relation to how many people applied. In regards to industry, big business was the one setting the standards and the NRA did little to enforce new codes. Here to, a segment of the population got the short end of the stick and that was women. Similarly, in terms of unemployment programs millions of white men were hired as a result of public works projects yet African-Americans and women did not fare as well. These programs were also short-term and did not pay well. While many of the banking programs were successful, the book argued that many believed that FDR missed his opportunity to restructure the system and address the underlying problems. Finally, real improvement was not seen until the United States geared up for World War II. Despite the long list of cons that were shared with us, our group still sided with the pro argument. We believe that the confidence that the New Deal programs provided to the populace helped raise morale and stave off political uprisings. We also felt that while African-Americans and women did not benefit as much as white males, that was the context of the times. In addition, a crisis such as this was unprecedented and FDR did what he could to address problems...some solutions worked and some didn't. It was trial and error.

Mr. Cone said...

I believe that FDR’s New Deal programs made the best of a bad situation in a time when there was no precedence set in how to deal with an economic crisis the magnitude of the Great Depression. While many of the programs were short term, they had a lasting impact on the psyche of the American people which helped to stave off the governmental upheaval that many European countries saw during this time period. Coupled with that, there were the economic reforms that were instituted which provided financial security for decades, that is until deregulation undermined these policies in the 1980s.
As far as the works programs that were initiated under the New Deal, they were a short term resolution to a crisis that was unprecedented in American, or even world history. And it was through the likes of programs such as the WPA, AAA, NRA, CCC and FSA, that the government gave people the confidence to feel assured that this American form of government was able to endure through these hardships. This is what squelched the possibilities of political uprisings from socialist and fascist parties which occurred in Europe at this time. It was the hope and promise that FDR conveyed that made people feel safe in our way of living.
Also, the economic reforms made by the Glass-Steagel Act and other initiatives strengthened the financial standing of the U.S. and gave confidence to the consumer that made them feel safe about putting their money back in the banks and in the stock market. Reforms brought about by the FDIC, SEC and TSA helped to restore confidence in the American banking and investment institutions that helped to turn the economy around. Proof of the success of these reforms was shown how they lasted over fifty years. It was not until the 1980s when the government deregulated the policies put forth in the New Deal which in turn led to the savings and loan crisis of that decade.

Christy said...

In all, the New Deal did successfully bring about relief, recovery, and reform.

The two most successful parts of the New Deal were the programs aimed at relief and reform. According to Dr. Shindo and Kristi Whitfield, 1/3 of the nation was unemployed and another 1/3 of the nation was under employed during the Great Depression. Relief programs such as the PWA, the CWA, CCC, and WPA, were designed to provide relief by employing as many people as possible. These organizations gave millions of people jobs and spent billions of dollars on public works projects. Although it can be argued that Women and African-Americans were excluded from some of these jobs, these jobs did provide relief for a great number of people who needed it. In our book, A New Deal for the American People, Biles states, “Most women praised the WPA for the benefits it provided their families (p.205).” In the area of reform, the New Deal left a huge impact with programs such as the FDIC, the SEC, and the SSA. According to Shindo and Whitfield, no depositor has lost insured funds since the creation of the FDIC. Biles states, “The creation of the FDIC increased government supervision of state banks and significantly lowered the number of bank failures. Such safeguards restored confidence in the discredited banking system and established a firm economic foundation that performed well for decades thereafter (p. 227).” Since its creation, SEC has stabilized the stock market and prevented other large scale crashes. The SSA has given most Americans a sense of security while providing others with unemployment insurance and aid to the needy.

The most unsuccessful part of the New Deal would be the programs that were designed to bring about recovery. The biggest failure would be the Agricultural Adjustment Act. It was designed to help farmers by dealing with the problem of overproduction. According to Shindo and Whitfield, the plan was for the government to pay farmers not to cultivate land, thus eliminating the surplus. However, most Southerners were not landowners and therefore didn’t receive government money. In the end, the sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and migrant workers who really needed the help, didn’t get their share. Also, the money that was given to the farmers was coming from taxes levied on the food processors. So, they ended up passing along higher prices to the consumers, thus compounding the financial problems they were facing. Ultimately, it was the increased production from World War II that really helped the economy to recover.

In the end, the New Deal did successfully bring about relief, recovery, and reform. Although the economy didn’t officially recover until World War II, the New Deal did provide many people with jobs that they needed as well as provide new legislation to prevent future depressions. FDR’s New Deal was the best plan that could have been put in place considering the political climate and the numerous constraints he was under.

Ms. Stewart said...

The New Deal created limited relief, recovery, and reform, but cannot be credited with providing relief to all who needed it nor can it be credited with ending the Great Depression. The New Deal did create a new sense of confidence in both the government and the economy, an important psychological effect which allowed the United States to maintain capitalism and democracy in the face of a severe economic situation. The New Deal also established a new role for government in society; the government’s need “to promote the general welfare” now translated to increased government involvement in the economy. In terms of reform, this may have been the most significant reform in preventing such an occurrence from happening again. However, the New Deal did not help the neediest groups in the short-term, or in many ways even in the long term. Women and African-Americans in particular were discriminated against by many programs. Women were excluded by the CCC, and married women were unable to apply for many programs. Where they did qualify for programs, they were often given menial housework-type jobs which paid much less than jobs for men; where these jobs were available it was in fact white women who filled them and only about 40% of African-American women actually worked in the 1930s. The limited relief, recovery, and reform brought some changes during the 1930s, but it would be World War II that would finally bring significant changes to the American economy.

susi37 said...

The New Deal was partially successful in bringing about relief, recovery, and reform to the US during one of the worst economic crisis in the history of our nation.
Success is evident in the creation of jobs through organizations such as the Works Progress Administration, Civil Works Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corp. The formation of the Public Works Administration invested billions of funding on large scale construction projects, thus improving the services and living conditions for the public, as well as allowing contractors to employ a large number of workers. As a result of the New Deal, the government was successful in driving down the prices of agricultural products and provided monetary aid and productive farmland to those involved. Unskilled workers were able to unionize, a federal minimum wage was established, and a maximum hourly work week was set. The Emergency Banking Act was able to convince the public to bring their money back to the banks. Federal Deposit Insurance came about, thus stabilizing the Stock Market. During the New Deal, Social Security and unemployment insurance was introduce, giving people a sense a hope for their futures.
The shortcomings of the New Deal are numerous, but do not outweigh the positives brought on by the New Deal. Women and minorities were not given the same opportunities for employment as the white male population. Even when work was provided, women tended to be employed in the domestic fields and African American were given the strenuous tasks or paid wages subpar to their male Caucasian counterparts. The government paid farmers to grow less crops, yet surpluses where produced and were destroyed instead of used to feed the indigent. Due to the large scale public works construction, people were relocated and placed into segregated communities. Lastly, many of the jobs created by the CWA, CCC, and the WPA were only temporary band-aids for the unemployed. To fund these temporary projects, the government had to use deficit spending. Had it not been for WWII, would the FDR been able to balance out the budget? That question remains to be answered.

Daniela McKee said...

The New Deal brought about limited relief, recovery, and reform. When I was originally assigned the con argument, I was concerned that we would not have a strong case to make. Fortunately, I was wrong. While I do believe that Roosevelt did the best he could with an extraordinarily difficult situation, it is clear that the long term result was not relief, recovery, and reform. The New Deal was lacking in several key areas including agricultural programs that essentially ignored the sharecroppers and tenant farmers; an ineffective FSA and an ineffective NRA. Women and African Americans did not gain the much needed relief they sought. Roosevelt had an opportunity to truly reform the banking industry and did not.

That said, the perception that the New Deal was helping at the time is important. Europe was in political crisis and perhaps the New Deal prevented an upheavel here in America. Roosevelt at least made an attempt to help, which was well regarded by the suffering American public.

Mr. DeMatteo said...

Did the New Deal Provide Relief – Recovery – Reform?


All in all, it was larger landowners and businesspeople who most benefited from New Deal policies. Of the American population effected by the Great Depression, it was the poor and unemployed. Although the programs that constituted the New Deal were meant to help all in need – discrimination at the local levels of distribution were prevalent. The idea of the New Deal seems to have been the most effective. It provided the psychological “Relief” that so many Americans needed during these trying times. The whole American system could have been lost. The idea that somebody was trying resonated with so many that were in dire straits. As far as “Reform” we still have some of the holdovers of the New Deal programs like Social Security – Minimum Wage – FDIC Insurance – SEC – Unemployment and Workmen’s Compensation Insurance.

mgoldberg said...

On March 4, 1933, FDR began his presidency by giving the people of the United States a glimpse of hope during his inaugural address as the nation struggled with the paralysis of the Great Depression. “This nation asks for action and action now!”…..and so FDR begins to do just that on March 9th by declaring a National Banking Holiday. He provided the government some time to organize the failed system until the banks were sound again. During that time, FDR engaged the nation with his “fireside chats” which explained and gave the American people an understanding of the problem and the feeling that something would be done to solve it. FDR rose to the task by unifying our nation during a time when the masses could have revolted and chaos could have prevailed. His presence as a leader radiated trust and hope for his nation and the people supported and believed in his efforts. Listening to Dr. Shindo and Kristi Whitfield- there were attempts of Relief, Recovery and Reform. Examples such as the minimum wage, the creation of the SEC, FDIC, the Federal Reserve, infrastructure was improved and created, jobs were created with the TVA, CCC, WPA, etc. However, as with each controversy, the down side was that minorities such as African Americans and women did not reap the same benefits as did the younger white males and the wealthy classes. I understand that some programs worked while other did not, some were short term and others long, some were wasteful and others successful. I realize that we can debate whether the Three R’s were successful or not and we could spend many hours with facts trying support our views, but at the end of the day-what did the people think of the New Deal as a whole? Certainly it did not help All but most one way or another in a time when many people accepted what was offered with probably less protest than what we could expect of today. I believe that FDR had the best interests of this country as a priority while the USA experienced a deep depression and protected our nation during a time when the world around us was so fragile. If he was able to keep this nation afloat during such tumultuous times and sustained the support and trust of the masses until we enter into World War 11….well, Good job FDR..

bkilkenny said...

The New Deal did not bring about the relief and reform many of its supporters gave it credit for but it was certainly a step in the right direction of using government as an economic tool to help the American people. The idea of government expenditure in order to positively affect the economy was correct in that the Second World War, along with full employment, did bring the nation out of the economic depression of the 30’s. It did help to provide jobs to Americans rather than leaving them at the mercy of the Free Market or to simply rely on Direct Aid. It also made steps in making our financial system more stable through the use of Government regulation.
Although the New Deal did not go far enough in helping those who needed the most help, it was able to bring relief to some groups of the American populace. It allowed local prejudices and discriminatory practices to keep those in need from getting aid. The idea of using government spending to help private and personal economic problems will always be a point of debate in American politics. The New Deal was controversial at the time and is still today so it certainly was successful in changing or reforming the role of the Federal government but it was not successful in brining about full recovery from the Great Depression.

pcostell said...

So much of the safety net that is being torn down today germinated from the New Deal. FDR was hamstrung by those to his right and the fear of socialism, but I believe the New Deal, while exclusive of women and minorities, brought about the relief, reform and recovery that the capitalist class needed! While Germans and Italians collapsed into fascism, the US withstood the challenges of the Great Depression through the New Deal. The reform aspect of the programs were perhaps the weakest because we still have the banking failures on a periodic basis (savings and loans in the 80s, and the 2008 meltdown) Imagine if Hoover had remained President? FDR's New Deal brought about the psychological relief needed.

TAH said...

Maureen S. A New Deal for the American People by Biles and the presentations by Professor Shindo and Ms. Whitfield provided balanced perspectives on the efficacy of the New Deal that were helpful in formulating our sides for the day's controversy. Although conventional scholarship points to World War II as ending the Great Depression, it appears from close analysis that the New Deal provided little recovery, some relief and most significantly reform. Given massive unemployment and horrendous conditions in America at that time, it is incredible that there were no riots or uprisings. Perhaps this can be attributed to the power of Franklin Roosevelt in his first inaugural address. Biles says, “The promise of action, the indomitable optimism, and the forcefulness of Roosevelt’s demeanor elevated the spirit of thousands of people huddled in the Washington mist and the millions listening to him on radio.” Within this context, Roosevelt attempted a number of approaches that for the most part did not deviate greatly from the usual way of doing business.

As Professor Shindo stated Roosevelt looked at agriculture as key. Through the Agricultural Adjustment Act which paid farmers to grow less, Roosevelt hoped to increase farm prices and inject money into the economy, hoping that the payments would be used to purchase consumer goods. While prices for some crops did increase, the payments went to those who owned the uncultivated land. Farm workers and tenant farmers did not share these payments and fell into poverty. In dealing with industry, the National Industrial Recovery Act “…initiated an unprecedented experiment in business-government cooperation…” The results were less than spectacular in getting the economy on the road to recovery though it suspended antitrust laws for two years and drafted industrial codes in the areas of production, pricing and labor policies. As Biles notes “Personnel problems, noncompliance, bureaucratic snafus, and negative publicity had all plagued the starstruck agency…” Other than providing unions with more muscle and establishing a minimum wage, the NRA pandered to the interests of big business and hesitant to radically change the status quo did not bring economic recovery. However businessmen started to understand that the stabilization and coordination the government provided were beneficial.

The New Deal was more successful in the area of relief with the Civil Works Administration, the Civilian Conservation Core and the Works Progress Administration. Not only did many of the unemployed find work but improvements to the nation’s infrastructure were undertaken during this period with the construction of the Hoover Dam and the establishment of eight hundred parks. Additionally, through the artist programs administered by the WPA, American culture was enhanced and celebrated with programs for artists and writers. Of course, many of these relief programs did not include women and African-Americans and some WPA programs were “unbalanced” regionally but enough people were helped to make a difference and made Americans comfortable with the idea that government had a role in providing for its citizens.

The New Deal had its greatest success and impact in the area of reform. In banking and finance, the Emergency Banking Act, the FDIC and the Truth in Securities Act gave Americans greater protection and made it clear that government involvement in our financial lives was a good thing. In the area of labor reform, such legislation as Section 7(a) of the NIRA, the Wagner Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act were helpful in improving the standing of American workers. But the most beneficial aspect of the New Deal, the Social Security Act did more for Americans than any other piece of legislation up to that time and set the stage for acceptance of government intervention and protection. As Biles states: “No longer willing to accept economic deprivation and social dislocation…Americans came to expect—the national government’s involvement in the problems of everyday life.”

L Zederbaum said...

I strongly do believe that the New Deal brough relief, recovery and reform. When America seemed to be floundering, FDR's plan was able to stimulate the economy and get the wheels turning. He realized that in order to do so, he would have to provide the jobs instead of waiting for the broke post-depression business man to do so. FDR singlehandedly helped America out of the turmoil that it had been suffering. Just examining the public works projects alone, demonstrates how FDR was aiming to allow all to benefit from projects.

-Lou Zederbaum

Christina said...

I think the New Deal did the best it could to provide relief and reform, but that it was not was truly brought recovery. Relief programs that put people to work, such as the TVA, the CCC, and WPA, did help somewhat and pumped more money into the economy. As for reform, Social Security and financial reforms such as creation of the FDIC and SEC have shaped our country today, despite their limitations.

The biggest limitations of the New Deal were that the programs did not address the needs of all Americans, especially women, immigrants, and African Americans. However, I think it did set a precedent for government intervention in the economy and was the best possible solution for such a wide scale depression.

Greg said...

The New Deal is the most overhyped government program in US History! Americans are taught in Elementary School how FDR was one of the greatest Presidents who created long lasting programs that ended the Great Depression and put in safety nets that have prevented another one from occurring! We learn about all the wonderful Alphabet programs like the AAA, FSA, NRA, WPA, and the CWA and how they put Americans back to work building our infrastructure and helping out the working man! The only one that has done any good is the FDIC. This is the narrative the Progressive Left is trying to sell this as a way of showcasing how the government can solve all the problems that uncontrollable, unrestrained capitalism brings to society.

The reality is that the New Deal actually prolonged the depression. Most jobs were temporary and were not signs of real growth. Many programs were not offered to minorities or women. Government corruption, largesse, and restrictions wasted time and money and stifled private enterprise. In fact, when many of Roosevelt's programs were found to be unconstitutional, he tried to pack the courts with agreeable judges. He used a well designed propaganda machine of posters, film, and his famous fireside chats to sway a desperate public. His hunger for power was evident when he broke precedent and ran for office 4 times! With all of his meddling, it was World War II that ended the depression, not the New Deal. But you won't find that narrative in a textbook or on his mile long monument in Washington D.C. There is even a statue of his dog!

kevallo said...

I do not believe that the New Deal brought about relief, recovery, and reform. However, I do believe that it offered the people hope in a time when they needed it most. For instance, the New Deal programs were directly targeting helping the American people themselves, when a lot of what Hoover tried to pass was there to help big business alone and hopefully trickle down. Roosevelt’s New Deal in my opinion prolonged the Depression by having a lot of his programs compete against the government. I agree with Mellon in the beginning of the Depression by saying that this will pass in a couple of years. Hoover gets a bad reputation from the Depression, however he was only president during the Depression for a couple of years, and FDR and his New Deal proved ineffective until World War II. With that said, FDR was a master politician and made the American people believe that the New Deal was going to help them through, and that is what the American people needed at that time.

Thone said...

I find it hard to argue that the New Deal did not offer relief, recovery and reform. New Deal programs such as the CCC or WPA employed millions of Americans. Banks and the Stock Market were strengthened by the creation of the SEC and FDIC and the government attempted economic recovery with programs such as the NIRA and the AAA. While some programs may have been more successful then others, and the depression continued on till the start of WWII, the New Deal still offered hope and aid to many Americans.

Robin J said...

While as in many cases, the new Deal helped many Americans with relief, recovery and reform, while others did not benefit at all. Dr. Shindo and Kristy both pointed out that farmers were aided, but share croppers who were mostly African American did not benefit since the money never trickled down to them, it stayed with the farmer's whose land they are working. I was taught by my father that Roosevelt's New Deal created a opportunity for many americans to recover some sort of economic benefit that had been lost with the crash. What I have come to learn, was that a lot of the relief, recovery, and reform aspect of the New Deal seems to have offered more psychological relief to the people. They felt that for the first time, a president was speaking directly to them (fire side chats) and doing everything he could to make their future's brighter. One has to wonder though, without our entry in to WW II, how long would it havetkaen Americans to realize that the New Deal wasn't helping enough and if FDR's popularity would've diminshed enough for him not to gain re-elction for a third or fourth term.

cmverycute said...

After listening to what everyone has to say and hearing the speakers, it is my opinion that the New Deal brought relief, recovery, and reform to the US. It allowed people to get back into the workforce, gave people options, and gave the economy t he boost it needed to get out of the Great Depression.

HSEMINTY said...

Relief and Recovery came from the New Deal depending on who you were and where you lived. LaGuardia, due to his relationship with FDR, was able to secure an inordinate amount of funds for New York for public works, public assistance, and other projects. However southern Democrats who rceived Federal money funneled it to support a segregationist South. In the short term, the New Deal mostly aided the White Working class. For instance, programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Work Progress Administration mostly employed out of work young men who were plagued by discrimination at the local level. Even though the CCC did employ 250,000 African Americans, when New Deal programs did employ minorities, these groups were paid at lower rates than white workers. The NRA also paid women far less then it did men. Often this discrimination was done because Roosevelt needed the votes of Southern Congressmen. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 offered price support for farmers, but only farmers who owned land or large portions of land. Sharecroppers, many of whom were black, received no support from the AAA.
The New Deal did seem to give more long lasting reform to everyone in the country. The New Deal did set up many long lasting reforms that made the government responsible for the economy. Among these were Social Security, Federal support for unions, and the FDIC created in the Glass-Steagal Act of 1933

stapes1976 said...

The New Deal brought some deal of reform, it was certainly a step in the right direction of using the government to help the American people. Although it did help to provide jobs to Americans, it did not go far enough in helping those who needed the most help. The New Deal was controversial at the time and is still today. While some of the programs may have been more successful then others, the New Deal still offered hope and aid to many Americans.

Brian said...

It is hard for me to argue that the New Deal was a success. It did bring about relief in that it inspired the American people to fight for a better life, but yet did it really bring about the relief it intended by reducing unemployment. Unemployment continued on a roller coaster ride throughout the mid-late 1930's. The major reform it brings about is the expansion of governemnt involement in our economic system. Some would argue whether or not this was a successful reform as since the creation of the New Deal our government debt has increased significanlty.

Mr. Toth said...

It’s hard to argue that the New Deal did not bring about relief, reform and recovery to America during the Great Depression, however when taking a closer look at the question, it’s then that one can argue on what scale was there relief, reform and recovery. I think what the New Deal did for people was give them hope, and allow them to see that their president FDR was doing something to help the American people. To those that struggled during this time period, many of FDR relief and public work programs must have been must appreciated. In terms of reform, administrations such as Social Security, the Security and Exchange commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corperation, speak to the New Deal on some level of success. I think where one can find flaw is in the area of recovery. Many would argue that the New deal did not bring us out the depression that in fact World War II did. Had we not entered the war, how much longer would the depression last? I think what the New Deal did more importantly than recover was it gave Americans the hope they needed to survive the decade.

Mr. Karmin said...

As with our other questions, the wording leaves room for debate. Specifically, did the new deal have to bring about relief, recovery, and reform in order to view it as a success? Regardless, I think the answer is a resounding yet. The New Deal introduced programs that got people working again. Programs were introduced that reformed the financial system and the role that the government played in our economy. Families found relief as a result of the new government programs, many which still provide relief to this day. Finally, it is hard to argue that the New Deal did help the economy to recover. It was not a perfect program and it is true that many people did not benefit. Still, it provided the spark that got us out of the recession.

Joan said...

The New Deal brought relief, some recovery, and reform. It did not help every American equally, but it sustained people and created confidence in the country’s future and the capitalist system. The SEC regulated the stock market; the FDIC insured bank deposits so people wouldn’t lose their savings. People were again able to be self-sufficient, which prevented revolution or massive conflict, as in other countries. The TVA developed hydroelectric power in the Tennessee River Valley, which improved the standard of living for people by providing electricity. The CCC put hundreds of thousands of young men to work improving national parks, planting trees, and building roads, trails, and campgrounds. The WPA created jobs for millions of Americans hired to build highways, buildings, bridges, dams, and tunnels, which built an infrastructure. FDR’s practical politics sacrificed helping many African-Americans in order to help as many people as possible because he could not alienate the powerful southern democrats, as he needed their support. Rather than sharecroppers receiving relief, the farmers who owned the land they worked on received it. Little was done to help Native Americans as well. Those who benefited the most from New Deal programs were part of the working class. As part of the New Deal, the National Industrial Recovery Act and Nation Recovery Act established standards to control industry and helped labor by creating a minimum wage. Workers also benefited through greater unionization. The Social Security Act was designed to remove fear by providing unemployment insurance, aide to the needy, and old age pensions. It gave a sense of security and stability. Some New Deal programs were more successful than others, but together they changed the U.S. in that the federal government expanded and made Americans dependent on it in ways that would have been unthinkable before the Depression. Economic crisis did much to influence Americans’ attitudes about the responsibilities of government.

CTator said...

I believe that the New Deal was indeed effective in relieving, recovering and reforming America. With the use of FDR's economic dream team and his pump priming model proved to get the country out of total breakdown. The role of government in maintaining economic equilibrium is essential and FDR got the brunt of being called a socialist and dictator. No doubt some of FDR's programs were unconstitutional, verified by the Supreme Court, but I believe it was necessary evil. Our country was hit hard due to the global depression and over 23 percent of Americans unemployed made FDR make hard decisions.
In hindsight FDR's programs of recovery and reform are still present today. With that said I don't think anyone would argue that FDR's New Deal was a dud. The FDIC, SEC, TVA to name a few are still in full active force.

Mr. Cummings said...

Did the New Deal successfully bring about relief, recovery, and reform? I would answer yes, some, and yes, but not to the degree that it was intended to or to the extent that it could have.

Some economic relief was created in the programs instituted by the New Deal, but not all Americans experience this relief including minorities and women. I think the main relief experienced by a majority of Americans was the feeling of "relief" that at least their government was trying to do something to help them and fix the vast economic problems that existed at the time.
The New Deal certainly attempted, and succeeded at least on a limited basis to get the country back on the road to economic recovery. The public works programs, and agricultural programs may not have helped everyone, and may have been short term fixes, but they did take steps toward recovery. the banking programs instituted under the New Deal were certainly positive forces in the recovery of the banking industry.
Reform certainly did take place. Was it successful as is could have been? Maybe not. But, we are talking about solving some of the most difficult problems a society can be faced with. I think we have learned in recent years that there is no easy way to "bail out" an ailing capitalist economy.

AFisk said...

Depending on the criteria used to measure success, the New Deal brought about some degree of relief and reform if not as much recovery. Although some of the programs enacted did not necessarily accomplish their intended goals, the fact that the government attempted to help its citizens through the worse economic situation ever faced reassured the country that the President felt their pain and was “trying”. This perception by the people enabled Roosevelt to attempt the many enacted programs to bring about change. In retrospect, it is easy to see which ones were doomed to failure but there were some successes.
For example, the AAA had “good intentions” when implementing various programs to change the poor living situation in which farmers found themselves. What the AAA did not account for was that the subsidies and production limitation payments granted to land owners “paid scant attention to tenants and sharecroppers” (p.63) and it was reported that “most tenants received no benefits at all” (p.64). This of course highlights some of the biggest deficits of the New Deal – it did little to help minorities such as African Americans who made up a large portion of sharecroppers and tenants and women.
While the solutions to the economic crisis were complicated and often needed to be amended, the government at least attempted to take action. As our speakers pointed out, with 33% unemployment and 33% underemployment, it was important that the people felt as though the government cared and was trying to put people back to work. In this way we can call the New Deal successful. Jobs were created for people and areas of the country had their standards of living increased. The people are satisfied enough with the governments’ intent that there is no social and political upheaval in the country; no socialist revolution. As for lasting reforms: Social Security, unemployment insurance, FDIC, minimum wage, child-labor laws, welfare and collective bargaining are just some of the lasting policies that have remained long after the Depression.

Mr. Ferrante said...

Although the New Deal did not solve all of the country's problems it did provide a modicum of relief for people and got them back to work. When I was young I had a number of senior citizens on my paper route and they all agreed that programs like the CCC helped raise morale. They knew alot of the work was meaningless but they at least got a paycheck to spend.

I don't know if it would have solved all the problems on its own though. If it had not been for WWII I don't think we would have left the Depression as early as we did.