Great Depression – Franklin Delano Roosevel
Essay Preview: Great Depression – Franklin Delano Roosevel
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During the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith in the government and economy. He promised vigorous action, and made sure the public was not scared of anything, and he wanted them to be ready for his hard-working action. In his first inaugural address, he says, “the only thing to fear is fear itself.” Roosevelt had many great ideas, but almost none of his ideas restored the economy, but they only made it worse.
He attended Harvard University, and he married Eleanor Roosevelt on St. Patricks Day. Following in the footsteps of his cousin, he began to become attracted public service. He was elected as the senator of New York. Roosevelt had to face a troubling time when he became ill with poliomyelitis, which caused him to be paralyzed in his legs. He had to swim everyday to try and recuperate his legs, and get them back to normal. He showed great courage during his illness because he fought hard to overcome his sickness to get back and healthy as soon as possible. He was soon elected President, and only a few months after he was elected, almost thirteen million people were unemployed, and practically every bank was closed because of financial issues. During his first hundred days, he proposed to bring recovery to businesses and agricultural institutions all around the nation. He also tried to bring relief to the people that were without jobs and were afraid of losing their homes and possessions. He also brought reform by creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.
A few days after he was inaugurated, he issued a proclamation that closed every bank in the United States for a few days, and this came to be known as the “bank holiday”. “The nationwide Bank Holiday in March 1933 was a unique event in American financial history. In the past, banks had suspended the convertibility of deposits into currency, but never had there been a complete stoppage of the entire U.S payments system” (New York Times). Congress started working on the Emergency Banking Act after a few hours. The act allowed the government to examine all banks and allow only the ones that were not in debt to be re-opened. When the banks reopened, the depositors stood in line to return their massive loads of cash. FDR wanted this law to restore public confidence in the banking system. Soon after, Roosevelt had his first Fireside Chat, which appealed to the Americans to prevent a resumption of bank withdrawals. During the first Fireside Chat, he also talked to the public about what was done and why it was done, and what the next steps were going to be. “Roosevelt . . . delivered a double-barreled message during his Fireside Chat–one for the general public and one for the financiers” (New York Times). The Fireside Chat was not only for the public, but he also wanted to financiers to hear it too and understand what measures should be taken under the different circumstances that might arise. The bank holiday forever changed the way that the United States was run. Similarly, the President now has a nationwide address to the public weekly on the radio. The President also notifies the public as soon as a decision is made via television or Internet broadcasting. Roosevelt laid the foundation that forever changed the way the public would be notified after having his first Fireside Chat, and without Roosevelt, the Presidents might not have made it their duty to let the public know what decisions they are making when and why they did what they did.
The public began to gain more confidence when FDR proposed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insured each account up to the amount of $2,500. Soon after, FDR created the Farm Credit Administration, which provided low-interest, long-term loans to farmers. With this new administration put into effect, the farmers were able to pay off their mortgages, pay off over-due taxes, buy back lost farms, and purchase needed equipment, seeds, and fertilizers. A few days after the Farmers Bill was passed, the Economy Act was passed into law, which cut veterans benefits by fifty percent because the veterans benefits made up twenty five percent of the budget. FDR then asked Congress to start a Home Owners Loan Corporation, which was supposed to be formed to help homeowners who could not pay their mortgages. Roosevelt felt that this corporation would be another step towards ending deflation, which was not allowing the farmers and homeowners to fully own their land.
About three years later, the country was starting to look up. The New Deal that emerged in these 100 days was a result of the powerful, chaotic forces at work in the country, of FDRs vision for opulence and development, and a reasonable amount of speculation. It was not at all a carefully planned process. The way FDR thought about the process comes out clearly in his twice-weekly press conferences. Business men and bankers were not agreeing with Roosevelts New Deal plan because business men would end up paying more taxes and the bankers would have to give out loans than they could afford to give out. Roosevelt followed up these complaints with a change in the government; he introduced Social Security, which basically taxed the wealthy heavier than everyone else and provided a work relief for the many employed men during this time. By the end of March, Congress