The Nature of the USA in the early 20th Century by zhangyun


									A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                             1

         BOOM AND BUST

                          Dorothe Lange, Migrant Mother (1936)

                                       A LEVEL HISTORY
                                           PAPER 5
                                           SCIE 2010
            A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                             2
            The Nature of the USA in the early 20th Century
            The early years of the 20th century (1900-1920) were known as the
            progressive decades. The US was indulging in some navel-gazing and
            discovering things about itself it didn‟t like.

            The nature of progressivism, however, is hard to pin down. De Witt regarded
            it as a concern with the regulation of big business, and involving definite social
            and political reforms; Chambers defined it more as a new interventionism,
            involving instead a belief in principled capitalism and a faith in democracy.

            After 1920 though, a conservative backlash set in and the US became a more
            isolationist and hedonistic nation – with a dangerous laissez faire attitude.
            Use pages 86-96 in „An introduction to American History‟ to fill in the gaps
                                  Progressivism                                 Conservatism
   Main          Republicans like McKinley, ___________& Republicans like Harding, ________ and
Proponents       Taft, and Democrats like ________; middle             Hoover; businessmen and large
                   class professionals like doctors, lawyers     corporations; isolationists, and after the
                  and academics, but also ordinary people;      horrors of _____ , many ordinary people;
  Aims            To regulate big business _________; the       Post-WWI, Americans craved order and
                     prevention of ________ and cartels; to     stability; the ______Revolution, the 1919
                oppose political _________; to promote the          Boston _______ strike, the wave of
                  extension of democracy, including female             strikes and race riots, along with
                 _________, direct elections and the use of          anarchist bombs, all had created a
                     referenda; an establishment of welfare     climate of fear and mistrust; people were
                 organisations and direct _______ schemes interested in their everyday problems and
                    to pay for it; a religious aspect was also    not vague concepts like the League of
                  apparent in the _____ ______ movement;                _________ or internationalism;
 Methods         Muckraking journals like „______Magazine‟ Many ____-wingers were rounded up and
                     exposed corruption; „clean‟ candidates           held without trail; foreigners were
                       opposed „dirty‟ ones; Unions like the    deported, and like _______ and Vanzetti
                 moderate, anti-socialist ____ were formed;       framed for murders they may not have
                     legislation through Congress was also          committed; laissez faire politics and
                        enacted and new parties created;          economics became fashionable again;
Successes          Influenced the idealistic ethos of Wilson           The Republicans dominated the
                   and his aims for the post-______ world:     presidency from 1921-33; an unparalleled
                  Roosevelt‟s Bureau of _________ in 1903 period of ________ saw the US economy
                investigated several industries, successfully     boom: chemicals, electricity, radio and
                    dissolving a monopoly trust in 1904; he     cars: by 1929 there were 27 million ____
                 supported striking ______ in 1902 and was in the USA, one for every five Americans;
                   something of a conservationist; the 1906           it employed 447 000 workers and
                ___________ Act protected the public from       stimulated other industries; construction
                  exorbitant rail fares; meat inspection and      boomed, the US became the nation of
                food labelling laws in the same year helped sky_________; workers saw their wages
                   to protect the interests and health of the     rise, their hours decrease and facilities
                   consumer; Taft carried on with anti-Trust   improved; union membership fell from 5m
                      legislation; Wilson introduced the first in 1920 to ___ m by 1929; textile workers,
                 permanent _______ tax, a central banking          miners and farmers, however, did not
                  system, and anti-trust legislation; low-cost  prosper; the proposed help for ________
                   loans to farmers, attempts to curb child-      was vetoed by ________ who disliked
                 labour, sick pay, ___ hour days and _____       bureaucratic and interventionist federal
                     suffrage were all supported by Wilson;             agencies and „big government‟;
 Failures        By 1910, under __% of the workforce were            The anti-trust laws were no longer
                        unionised, and the whole nature of           enforced, and business, and even
                 ________ was never exposed or criticised; government, became corrupt again, with
                     so, was it just well-meaning tinkering?     the „_______ gang‟ under Harding, e.g.
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                3

Perhaps the most infamous, and short-sighted, governmental act in US history
was the imposition of an effective ban on alcoholic consumption from 1919 by
the 18th Amendment or the Volstead Act.

Why was prohibition introduced?

     The US was a religious nation, and even as late 1900, still an
      essentially rural and conservative society; many saw booze as the
      Devil‟s instrument of corruption; long before 1919, many states were
      already dry; while many believed America could legislate its way to
      morality, so besides attacks on drink, there had also been attempts to
      curb petting, restrict contraceptives and introduce censorship;
     The influence of temperance societies like the Anti-Saloon League
      had been apparent since the later 19th century; they equated drink with
      moral decay and domestic problems, and ran very effective
      propaganda campaigns against the „demon drink‟;
     Many women especially were pro-prohibition; drinks companies in
      fact had even campaigned against female suffrage afraid that women
      would be anti-drink, which often did prove the case;
     WWI had alienated many, as the beer companies tended to be
      German owned; drinking beer became unpatriotic, while grain was
      seen as being needed for food, rather than brewing;
     Bigotry and prejudice also played a role, as immigrant and ethnic
      communities like the Catholic Irish were regarded as the biggest
      consumers of alcohol;
     Law enforcement organisations also welcomed prohibition believing
      it would reduce crime;
     Employers supported prohibition, because they believed it would
      reduce absenteeism and improve efficiency;
     Small towns were reasserting their moral values over the decadent
      ones represented by the cities and metropolises; the US was becoming
      urbanised, but not without a struggle from the rural communities;

The Successes of Prohibition

     In some rural areas, prohibition did reduce crime and domestic
      violence, and could be enforced in many small towns;
     Presidents like Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover did set an
      example and abstained from all alcoholic drinks;

However, on the whole, prohibition was both a failure and a disaster for the

                                                 Where do you think you‟re going?
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                         4
The Failures and Disasters of Prohibition

     In large cities prohibition was virtually impossible to enforce; there
      were too few agents and they were so badly paid they were easy to
     The US was a huge nation with long land and sea borders; not
      every crossing point could be controlled;
     Gangsterism flourished as bootleggers smuggled in booze from the
      Caribbean, Canada and Mexico; bootlegging gangs fought bloody wars
      with each other over territory and hi-jackings; innocent by-standers
      were often killed in the indiscriminate spraying of Thompson sub-
      machine gun fire; murder rates soared and cities like Chicago and New
      York became organised crime ghettoes; infamous figures like Bugs
      Moran, Dion O‟ Bannion and Al Capone fought each other and the law;
      Capone was worth $60m a year in 1927; he murdered opponents by
      the score: the St. Valentine‟s Day Massacre of 1929 saw seven of his
      rival Moran‟s associates gunned down, for example; O‟ Bannion was
      shot dead in his own flower shop;
     Perhaps most disastrously, ordinary, decent normally law-abiding
      citizens were turned into criminals; any person who wanted a drink
      had to visit an illegal bar or speakeasy; 32 000 speakeasies existed in
      New York alone, ironically twice as many bars as there had been
      before Prohibition! In these unregulated fire-traps, many also had their
      first encounters with drugs, prostitution and gaming;
     The whole of society was corrupted as judges, policemen,
      journalists and politicians were in cahoots with the gangsters;
     Government revenue was affected as excise duties and taxes on
      alcohol was no longer a guaranteed form of income, and in fact the
      government had to spend money trying to enforce the unenforceable;
     Illegal (and un-taxable) alcoholic production increased; people
      made their own moonshine from stills and even brewed beer in their
      own bath tubs; often what was produced was positively dangerous and
      many people died or went blind from their home-made alcohol;

Prohibition was all part of the process of the increasing conservatism and
narrow-mindedness of US society. Even after Roosevelt abolished the
disastrous experiment of Prohibition in December 1933, seven states would
vote to retain it!

                                          ”Roll out the barrel…”
    A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                             5
                          1920S AMERICA – A TOLERANT SOCIETY?

     Use your text book to briefly describe the following examples of intolerance.

         Event                             Date               Description
Immigration Restrictions

    The ‘Red Scare’
  (incl. Palmer Raids)

   The ‘Monkey Trail’

        The K K K
  A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                              6
  The Jazz Age – All that Wonderful and Daring?

  Match up the person with what they are saying to gain a more objective
  assessment of the 1920s, than the myth that is often portrayed.

A Woman Politician        Movie Star      A Flapper   Baseball Player Jazz Musician    A novelist

                      1.“I love these dance marathons!
                     We all do the Charleston and Black                       2.“The fans love me! Mind
                     Bottom and have a wail of a time.                          you when I was caught
                      My boyfriend is going to pick me                         taking bribes in the 1919
                     up in his new Ford tonight and we                          World Series to throw a
                        are going to a flag post sitting                         game, they weren‟t so
                         comp., but we shan‟t drink!”                           friendly. But the dupes
                                                                                   have forgiven me!”

                         3. “You now see women with make-up, bobbed hair, even smoking in
                        public. We wear less restrictive clothing and can even vote. However,
                         we still earn less than men, when we have jobs; we are still less well
                              educated and have fewer opportunities. At least families are
                           becoming smaller and the new domestic appliances are removing
                                            some of the drudgery of our lives”

                            4. “The white folks love our music and come to our
                              clubs. However, I am still discriminated against
                            and am still not allowed to use the same bathrooms
                             as them or sit where I want on the bus. And the
                                   North is even worse than the South!”

                                                                           6. “I write novels exposing
                     5. “I am paid a fortune! The                          the corruption, greed and
                     silver screen has made me a                            selfish hedonism of this
                        household name and my                                  new age. My fellow
                     photo is in all the papers and                        writers though seem to be
                        magazines. I suppose I                             crying in the wilderness –
                     cheer peoples‟ drab lives up.                             no one is taking any
                         I‟m escapism for them.                                        notice”
    A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                   7
    The Boom Years – The Economy of the 1920s

    The 1920s saw an unprecedented rise in US prosperity, as Americans saw
    their standard of living become the highest in the world. The US had more
    cars and consumer goods than any other nation. Business made huge profits
    as production doubled and various industries did especially well. The 16%
    rise in the nation‟s population also necessitated more houses and so gave a
    spurt to the construction industry. Unemployment declined from 12% in 1921
    to 3.2 % by 1929.

      Chemicals                                                                  Electricity

   This industry did                                                       Electricity consumption
   particularly well                                                         more than doubled;
   especially in the                                                     electrical household items
manufacture of synthetic                                                    like ovens, irons and
 textiles and plastics.                                                  fridges came into general



In 1920, KDKA in Pittsburgh                  The car industry stimulated the growth of many
    began the first regular                others: rubber, glass and petroleum industries, as
   broadcasts; radio often                     well as road–side diners, motels and drive-in
 featured advertising and by                cinemas. In 1914, Henry Ford was pricing a new
  1927 there were 732 radio                Model T at the affordable figure of $360. By 1925,
stations; by 1930, nearly half             Ford was producing a car every 10 seconds using
   of all American families                     his revolutionary assembly line methods of
      possessed a radio.                   production at his purpose-built River Rouge plant;
                                            the ownership of cars leapt from 9 million in 1920
                                             to 27m by 1929; in 1929 the USA produced 5m
                                           vehicles: 10 times the total produced by Germany,
                                                         France and GB combined!
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                8
However, not everything or everyone did well in the roaring twenties, despite
the optimism of right-wing historians like Paul Johnson.

The older, heavy industries like coal-mining and textile production (often
concentrated in the South) did not prosper as well, the latter hit hard by
foreign competition and even changes in fashion, as skirts and dresses
became less modest.

Farming also continued to suffer after the boom of the War years when
America had been feeding the world. Some farmers supplying the growing
towns with fruit and vegetables, and dairy products did well, but most,
especially in the South and Midwest, continued to suffer. They were not
helped by deteriorating environmental conditions, which literally saw their land
turn to dust and blow away. These „dustbowl‟ conditions would only contribute
though to the even greater economic catastrophe that was brewing.

The US remained an intolerant and bigoted society; In the early to mid
1920s the KKK had reached 5 million; African-Americans could not drink from
the same fountains as whites nor use the same bathrooms or lunch-counters.
Communists, socialists and trades unionists were hounded by the FBI, which
was led by J. Edgar Hoover, a cross-dressing homosexual bigot, who kept
files on everyone he deemed a threat to the American way of life. At the
same time he dismissed ideas of the Mafia and organised crime as unrealistic!
Women, African and Native Americans all remained second class citizens in
the minds of men like Hoover.

Corruption was endemic and reached the highest levels. The head of the
Veterans‟ Bureau under the hedonistic Harding had misappropriated or
wasted $250m. Pardons to law-breakers were sold by government ministers
like Jesse Smith, and Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, was involved in the
„Teapot Dome scandal‟ and became the first US cabinet minister to ever be
jailed. The „Florida Land Boom‟ saw many cases of fraud and embezzlement,
and ordinary people lost their life savings in bogus schemes. Fraudsters
abounded in the US of the 1920s, playing on peoples‟ greed for get rich quick
schemes. Charles Ponzi (a devotee of whom is Bernie Madoff!), Clarence
Hatry and William Durant engaged in practices like insider dealing and the
issuance of fraudulent stock. Perhaps peoples desire for wealth was
understandable in a society where the top
27 000 families received as much money as the poorest 11 million!

The US may have seemed to have been a prosperous, stable society, but the
reality was that it was heading for an economic and social melt-down of
unprecedented proportions.

                                                       “Anyone seen my lipstick?”
          A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                     9
          Major Figures of the 1920s – Mix N’ Match Exercise
          Use your text book to find the correct description of these major figures of the 1920s
   FIGURE                                                   ACTIONS
Margaret Sanger            Defence attorney for John Scopes at the infamous „Monkey Trial‟; he cleverly
                          revealed the absurdity of fundamentalist beliefs in the Bible, such as the world
                           being created in 4004 BC, by his attacks on the prosecutor, William Jennings

 Carrie Chapman           Southern writer from Oxford, Mississippi who used his hometown as inspiration
       Catt                 for his earliest works and who later went on to become one of the greats of
                                                        American literature.

  Sinclair Lewis          A macho writer of „muscular prose‟ who wrote novels about his experiences in
                          WWI, France, Spain and the Caribbean. Became one of the icons of American

F. Scott Fitzgerald        Suffragette and political campaigner who advocated radical and direct action
                            as a way of obtaining the vote. She also wanted equal pay and rights for
                            women to be enshrined in the constitution – not achieved until the 1970s.

Clarence Darrow           A Jamaican-born black leader who advocated segregation of blacks from their
                            white oppressors, a new „Negro nationalism‟ and ultimately a return to the
                                                      African homeland.

    Alice Paul            Poet and mentor of other writers, he was a modernist who lived in self imposed
                             exile in Europe and would in the later 1940s be prosecuted for his pro-
                                                         Mussolini views.

   Ezra Pound               Feminist and socialist, campaigner for contraception for women to free them
                            from the misery of huge families. Coined the term „birth control‟ and opened
                                        the first family planning clinic in 1916, in New York

    T. S. Eliot          Wrote the novel „Main Street‟ in 1920, which depicted the banality of small town
                                 American life and helped set a trend for later novelists to follow

     Ernest                   A Southerner who wrote against the “Victorian morality and the Bourbon
   Hemingway              aristocracy of the South”, but never completely severed his roots with the area.
        A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                 10
 Thomas Wolfe            Princeton educated writer who wrote about the lives of the wealthy during the
                          1920s and coined the term „the Jazz Age‟. His most famous novel is „The
                         Great Gatsby‟ a brilliant evocation of the materialistic life of a mob-connected

William Faulkner         Talented writer and poet, Harvard-educated, thoroughly modernist and rather
                          pessimistic in his views. His „Waste Land‟ (1922) became a leitmotif for a
                                                    disaffected generation

Marcus Garvey           Social worker from a Quaker background who created Hull House, in Chicago,
                        and later other cities, to encourage community spirit and co-operation amongst
                                                     the poor and immigrants.

 Jane Addams            Suffragette campaigner and founder of the NWSA, whose organisation helped
                         to get women the vote by 1920. She was typical of the new kind of woman
                                             growing up in post-WWI America
          A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                11
          Major Figures of the 1920s – Mix N’ Match Exercise – The Answers

          Use your text book to find the correct description of these major figures of the 1920s

     FIGURE                                                 ACTIONS

Margaret Sanger

 Carrie Chapman

  Sinclair Lewis

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Clarence Darrow

    Alice Paul

   Ezra Pound

    T. S. Eliot


   Tom Wolfe

William Faulkner

 Marcus Garvey

  Jane Addams

                                                         All correct?
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                           12
The Reasons for the Great Depression

The Great Depression was one of the most dramatic events in US history. A
disaster in many ways, it also brought progress and great benefits for ordinary
American people and changed the fundamental nature of the relationship with
their federal government.

The Great Depression was not caused by the Wall St. Crash. That itself was
a symptom of the nation‟s underlying economic weaknesses, rather than a
cause. Only 5% of Americans owned shares. The crash did take money from
business, but the really serious crashes did not happen until 1931-32.

The real reasons can be summarised as:

        Overproduction

         US industry was simply too efficient. It was over-producing
         commodities and ran out of customers. This was partly due to the fact
         that even many Americans could not afford to buy consumer durables,
         and also due to the US‟ own protectionist trade policies, which meant it
         could not export to survive. Equally, US agriculture was far too
         successful and its own over-production problems were driving down
         prices for already hard-pressed farmers.

        Innate poverty

         Income was not fairly distributed. The richest 5% owned a third of its
         income, while 71% of Americans lived below the poverty line ($2, 500
         p.a.). The poor simply could not sustain the type of production the US
         was engaging in.

        Credit Systems

         Many Americans bought goods on hire purchase (HP) and even shares
         on credit („the margin‟). The boom was, therefore, fuelled by credit -
         rather by real money. When those debtors were required to pay by
         their creditors many could not do so and the creditors went bankrupt.

        The Banking System

         Many think the US banking system was both a weak link in the
         economy and disastrously corrupt. David Kennedy even claims that
         “American banks were rotten even in good times”. Unregulated, far too
         small and lacking in resources, they were vulnerable to panic. The
         Federal Reserve Bank did little to help banks in trouble, which helped
         to set off a banking panic when it refused to bail out the New York City
         Bank in 1930. By 1933, 5,500 banks had failed, with losses over a
         whopping $3 000 000 000. Many lost their life savings.

                                                  Easy come…easy go
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                            13
However, the Great Depression was not just an American product. Many
global factors also came into the equation:

        Global Overproduction

         The world was producing far too much food, driving down prices.

        Chaotic Fiscal Situation in Europe

         The issuing of short-term loans to economies like Germany, by US
         financiers, was disastrous as when these loans were called in, the
         German economy slumped badly. Added to this, American banks held
         large stakes in German and Austrian banks, which collapsed in early

        Britain’s Abandonment of the Gold Standard

         Many claim GB‟s repudiation of the gold standard in September 1931,
         helped to ruin 500 US banks.

        Protectionism

         The US had since the Civil War had protectionist trade barriers.
         Woodrow Wilson had been the first president to reduce them. In the
         mid-1920s, the Fortney-McCumber tariffs however had reinforced the
         idea of selfish trade policies, as did the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariffs. The
         USA, however, was not the only nation with protectionist tariff barriers
         and should not bear the burden of blame alone.

                                       A Protectionist Barrier?
                A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                         14
                Complete the flow diagrams on the causes of the Great Depression






                           1.    US CANNOT EXPORT ITS SURPLUSES
                           4.    US PRODUCTS CANNOT BE SOLD OVERSEAS –TOO EXPENSIVE!


        A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                       15
        The Effects of the Great Depression on the USA

Using your acquired knowledge of US geography put (a summary of) the following statements
into the correct box:

   1. The major cities of the US experienced high levels of unemployment. Chicago and New
      York were especially badly hit and saw breadlines and soup kitchens set up;
   2. Much of the MidWest, already hit by environmental disasters like the dustbowl effect, were
      hit hard again by the decline in farm prices and the ruination of many farmers who were
      then forced to go to California in search of work picking fruit. Such scenes were
      immortalised in John Steinbeck‟s „Grapes of Wrath‟;
   3. The Deep South experienced hardship as both its agricultural and textile industries
      collapsed; cotton was left to rot in the fields and many farmers left the land;
   4. The nation‟s capital became the centre of the Bonus Marchers riot. 22,000 WWI veterans
      desperate for their money marched on Washington D.C. in 1932 and in the ensuing riot
      two were shot dead by an over-zealous, General Douglas MacArthur;
   5. Armed, Western farmers blocked roads in a desperate attempt to reduce the amount of
      food reaching the cities and so try and increase its price;
   6. Some states saw an increase in crime and the activities of notorious bank-robbers like
      Bonnie and Clyde who, because they stole from the banks, became (underserved) folk
         A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                              16
         The Great Depression – Some Statistics

                 US trade fell from $10bn in 1929 to $3bn, by 1932;
                 Industrial output was ½ of what in was in 1929, by mid-1932;
                 Unemployment rose from 1.5m in 1929 (3% of the workforce) to 7m
                  by December 1930 (nearly 15%) to well over 12 million two years later
                  (25%); eventually it would reach over 15 million (30%); some historians
                  even believe it reached 50%!
                 Weekly earnings fell by 1/3 on average for those lucky enough to have
                  a job;
                 Farmers suffered especially badly: wheat fetched $1.05 in 1929 and
                  only 39 cents by 1932; cotton fell from 17 cents a pound in 1929 to 6
                  cents a pound by 1932; farmers‟ incomes plummeted from $6bn in
                  1929 to $2bn in 1932;

         Counterfactual History – The What Ifs?

                                YES             NO   POSS.        PROB.                   REASON
If no Wall St. Crash
  - no Depression?

If more Americans
above poverty line
 – no Depression?

If US had not been
so protectionist -no

  If US had more

If Democrats not
Republicans been
    in charge?

                                                       Would we have lost so much, if…?
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                                                17
What did Herbert Hoover Do?

                                       ”if a man has not made a million by the time he‟s 40 he is not worth much”

Hoover began as one of the most popular presidents in US history. He ended
as one of the most reviled. He has often been accused of having done too
little, too late. In his defence, he did do something. US presidents had never
been expected to interfere in the actions of states‟ governments nor had the
USA any real history of welfare provision or bureaucratic structures that could
allow it to cope with an unprecedented disaster like the Great Depression.

Hoover was a self-made man. Widely travelled, and a skilled and successful
mining engineer, he had become a millionaire by his early 40s. He had
successfully run various government departments during WWI. He was the
natural Republican successor to Coolidge and easily won the 1928 elections.
He had promised to rid the US of its poverty and ensure that every American
citizen would have “a chicken in the pot and a car in every garage”. However,
his actions during the Depression years suggested that he consistently
underestimated the disastrous consequences of the Great Depression and
was seriously out of touch with the sufferings of ordinary people. Instead, he
tended to play up the political dangers of communism and socialism, and
stressed the values of “rugged individualism”. He believed in placing the onus
on voluntary organisations, on the states, on employers and the banks -
anyone but the Federal government. By the elections of 1932 he was widely
seen as uncaring and lacking in solutions. He was heavily defeated by the far
more charismatic, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR).

Hoover‟s „lame duck‟ months saw a further nose-dive in the economy and a
later change to the constitution (the 20th Amendment) to reduce the often
disastrous interregnum between presidencies from 5 months to 2 ½.

Was the USA ever in any danger of revolution?

                YES!                                                                        NO!
      A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                             18

                   Hoover reduced government spending in 1931 and then raised
                   ________ the following year, which only made matters worse

                                                                         The Federal Reserve
      Hoover claimed in                                                    Board refused to
        1931 that the                                                   increase the amount of
    Depression‟s causes                      HOOVER’S
                                             NEGATIVES                    money in circulation,
   lay _________ the US                                                    which really only
   - and so the US could                                                    benefited those
     do little about them!                                               with________, which
                                                                           retained its value
Hoover was seen as distant
  and cold; so the shanty                       He signed the Hawley-Smoot Tariff
  towns of the homeless                         Act which further raised tariffs and
became „___________‟, old                      was disastrous for __________ trade
   newspapers „Hoover
   blankets‟, margarine,
    „Hoover Butter‟, etc.

                 Hoover was not a bad man; he cared, was incorruptible, honest (he
               obeyed ________________) and not prejudiced; he worked tirelessly to
                   alleviate the suffering of his people – albeit in ineffective ways

    He cut taxes and
                                             HOOVER’S                     In 1930, he secured a
     favoured lower
                                             POSITIVES                  pledge from employers
________rates to try and
                                                                         to maintain wage rates
  increase consumer-
                                                                          and avoid lay-offs; he
    spending and so
                                                                          urged __________ to
   ____________ the
                                                                        increase their spending
                                                                          and increased federal
                                                                               spending on
  Through his Federal Farm Board he tried to bolster prices for           infrastructure projects
    grain, cotton and other farm goods; in 1932 he set up the            like bridges and roads,
  Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) to lend money to              and most famously the
     industry and commerce; the Glass-Steagall Banking Act                   Hoover _______
 expanded credit facilities; the Home Loan Bank Act which gave
  loans to building societies; the Relief and Construction which
empowered the RFC to lend state governments $1.5bn for public
        Hoover‟s measured paved the way for the spending and
 works; Hoover massively increased government d
the federal _____was the highest it had ever been in US history;
 Hoover‟s measures paved the way for the______ ______, claim
                       Farmer and Sanders

  Deficit-Hoovervilles-Outside-Stimulate-New Deal-Taxes-Money-Global-Prohibition-
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                              19
FDR and the New Deal

                                                “The cripple in the Whitehouse”

Roosevelt came from a highly privileged and wealthy background. Educated
at Groton and Harvard he had been a very young navy minister, but had
experienced a severe attack of polio in the early 1920s. This nearly killed him
and left him bed-ridden for years. Crippled, his experiences perhaps made
him the compassionate and determined figure he was to become. A complex
and contradictory character, he could be conservative, yet radical, moralistic,
yet pragmatic, charming, yet remote. He liked to present an enigmatic
persona, yet at the same time appear all things to all men. Ted Morgan has
described him as “part lion, part fox”.

He was Democrat governor of New York from 1928 and did more than any
other to try and deal with the Depression. This helped to get him elected in
1932, along with his promise to repeal prohibition and his effective
electioneering, which included using the song “Happy Days are Here Again”.
He would become the only US president to be elected four times to office.

His aims in office were:

        To get the US out of Depression and on the road to recovery;
        To effect major social reforms to benefit the „have nots‟;
        To be more interventionist than Hoover‟s government;
        He wanted to save, and not destroy capitalism, and he had no intention
         of introducing socialism;

FDR was helped by a number of like-minded individuals many of whom were
much more radical than himself, and he even included both women and
blacks in his government, a rarity for the time. His advisors thus included:

        The „Brain Trust‟ of academics, lawyers and journalists like Samuel
         Rosenmann, Rexford Tugwell and Raymond Moley;
        The cabinet included radicals like Frances Perkins and Harold Ickes;
        Congress was dominated and controlled in both houses by Democrats;

FDR was open-minded, prepared to innovate and he was good with the press
and media, who warmed to his wit and good humour. He established his „fire-
side chats‟ on radio and was a masterful politician. However he could also be
arrogant, vacillating, and he was a poor administrator.

His wife, Eleanor, was both a great personal and political asset. A
compassionate, loyal and fair-minded woman she stood by FDR even through
his illnesses, marital infidelities and political slumps. She was, at times, more
loved than the president – and just as reviled by the rich who saw the
privileged Roosevelts as „traitors to their class‟.
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                        20
The Hundred Days – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Once in power, in March 1933, FDR set about taking action. He was
concerned to improve confidence and famously declared “we have nothing to
fear, but fear itself”, a speech which William Leuchtenberg has called the
“greatest single contribution to the politics of the 1930s...”. His famous
„alphabet agencies‟ would start to do more in three months than Hoover had
done in four years, and save capitalism.

FDR aimed to curb the power of the destabilising stock market and by
devaluing the dollar by 40% he made US goods more competitive abroad.

However, much of what was done was, in Farmer and Sanders‟ words, full of
“contradiction, duplication and overlap”, and Michael Parrish says “arose from
no master plan”, but was instead expedient and erratic. Even so much of it
worked well, though there were also serious limitations and flaws.

Anti-GOP Poster
         A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                   21
         The Good – Sort Out the Mix Up!

              Action                                                  Positive Impacts
           The Beer Act                            1. A 40 000 sq. miles of territory covering 7 states was
                                                   provided with dams both to protect its farmland and to
                                                provide cheap power. This was perhaps the greatest large
                                                 scale project of the new regime. It dramatically improved
                                                           the quality of life of people in the area.
       The Banking Crisis                           2. FDR accepted unemployment relief was a federal
                                                 responsibility. Harry Hopkins wanted to give people paid
                                                  jobs to preserve their self-respect rather than just hand
                                                   dole money. FDR agreed. It indulged in road repairs,
                                                   improvements to schools and parks and playgrounds.

Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA)                   3. 300 000 young men by the summer of 1933 had
                                                      enlisted to help in the countryside fighting fires,
                                                              constructing bridges, roads, etc.

 National Industrial Recovery Act               4. Under Harold Ickes‟ close scrutiny, public works projects
              (NIRA)                             helped to provide work and new hospitals, roads, bridges
                                                  and airports. It completed 34 000 projects including: the
                                                 Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Coulee Dam and La Guardia
                                                                       Airport, New York.
   Public Works Administration                      5. FDR‟s Emergency Banking Relief Bill was a Hoover
             (PWA)                                 idea that effectively placed banks in a position to prove
                                                   they were solvent enough to re-open, and placed them
                                                    under federal control. In his first „Fireside Chat‟, FDR
                                                    persuaded Americans that their savings would now be
                                                          safe in bank vaults – and they believed him.
  Federal Emergency Relief Act                     6. Farmers still made up 30% of the US population and
            (FERA)                                   they were helped by being encouraged and paid for
                                                 reducing production by destroying crops and slaughtering
                                                      livestock (8.5m pigs were butchered, for example).

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)                   7. FDR had promised to repeal prohibition and did it
                                                 quickly once he was in power. This helped to curb crime
                                                        and brought in much needed tax revenues.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)                8. Aimed at regulating prices and wages; codes of practice
                                                were encouraged such as outlawing the use of child labour
                                                and the right to form trades unions; participating firms were
                                                       allowed to display the Blue Eagle of the NRA.
         A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                      22
              Action                            Positive Impacts
           The Beer Act

       The Banking Crisis

Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA)

 National Industrial Recovery Act

   Public Works Administration

  Federal Emergency Relief Act

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
       A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                  23
       The Bad and the Ugly

             Action                                             Negative Impacts
          The Beer Act                            1. Many of the jobs created were pointless and
                                              demeaning, and known contemptuously as „boondoggles‟.

      The Banking Crisis                       2. Even the flagship of FDR‟s alphabet agencies was not
                                                without its limitations. Cheap electricity did not attract
                                                 industry to the area in the way it was hoped it would.

  Agricultural Adjustment Act                   3. Led by the energetic, but tactless and hard-drinking
             (AAA)                            Hugh Johnson, the NRA was used by big business to put
                                               pressure on its smaller rivals who relied much more on
                                                   sweated labour. Trade unionists continued to be
                                              persecuted and Henry Ford refused to allow unions or the
                                                        „Roosevelt buzzard‟ on his premises.

National Industrial Recovery Act              4. The more prosperous farmers tended to gain from this.
             (NIRA)                           Poor sharecroppers, especially blacks, benefited very little.
                                               Many people were also appalled by the destruction of so
                                               much food when people in the cities were starving. Farm
                                                  prices went up, but only partly due to the AAA. The
                                               decline in the value of the dollar, and environmental and
                                              meteorological factors pushed up the price of the resulting,
                                              scarcer food. The reduction in production also resulted in
                                                  more unemployment for farm labourers and tenant
                                               farmers. Other organisations like the Commodity Credit
                                              Corporation, which encouraged farmers to store crops until
                                               the price rose, and supported them with loans until they
                                                       did, were far more effective than the AAA.
  Public Works Administration                  5. This organisation was restricted to young men (18-25)
            (PWA)                               and supplied them only with a small amount of pocket
                                                money, rather than a living wage. Women and ethnic
                                                 minorities were once again the least likely to benefit.

 Federal Emergency Relief Act                  6. Harold Ickes was too rigorous in judging where money
           (FERA)                             should be spent and this resulted in money being invested
                                                           too slowly to give immediate relief.
  Civilian Conservation Corps                   7. Critics pointed out that if FDR had co-operated with
             (CCC)                              Hoover during the latter „lame duck‟ period 1100 bank
                                                      closures might have been avoided as well.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)               8. The abolition of Prohibition also abolished some of the
                                              achievements of the act such as the reduction of domestic
                                                                 violence in rural areas.
       A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                       24
       The Bad and the Ugly
            Action                                    Negative Impacts
         The Beer Act

      The Banking Crisis

  Agricultural Adjustment Act

National Industrial Recovery Act

  Public Works Administration

 Federal Emergency Relief Act
  Civilian Conservation Corps

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

       The Overall Conclusion
       On the whole though the first Hundred Days were a success. As David
       Kennedy says: “Taken together the accomplishments of the Hundred Days
       constituted a masterpiece of presidential leadership unexampled then and
       unmatched since (unless in the second Hundred Days)”. The achievements
       can be summarised as:
        A halting of the banking panic;
        The largest public works programme in US history;
        New institutions to resurrect industry and agriculture;
        Conservation and environmental protection measures;
        Relief for the unemployed;
        An increase in average earnings and business profits;
        Farm-mortgage debts and business failures started to decline;
 A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                         25
 Critics of the New Deal

 FDR‟s measures were not, however, entirely welcomed. His critics covered
 the whole range of the political spectrum, and given the massive amount of
 expenditure and the still huge numbers of unemployed, his detractors had
 ample scope for complaint.

 The Right


  “Initially we liked him –he was saving _______! Now I hate
 FDR and his New Deal! Government should not interfere in
peoples‟ everyday lives. The costs and the budget deficits are
    horrendous. I will be joining the American __________
League of Al _______ and John _____, and protesting against
  Roosevelt‟s regimentalising and Sovietising policies. He‟s
   turning our great nation into a socialist dictatorship – and
                      raising our _________ ”.

                           The Supreme Court

“The government is becoming too ______. What it is doing is
 unconstitutional. We have destroyed the ____ and the NRA
  and will do more. Federal government is taking too many
   powers away from the states. The Democrats and their
  dangerously radical president need to be stopped. I hope
            Alf __________ wins the „36 elections”.

                The Business Community

“What is the cost of all these New Deal measures?
 The ____ codes are restricting my ability to make
 profits and the unions, backed by the government,
 are demanding higher ______ and better working
conditions. My newspaper has it right: Roosevelt is
         turning into a populist demagogue”.
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                 26
The Left

                                                     Radical Politicians

                                  “Roosevelt has been in power a year and there are still
                                 over 11m unemployed! He needs to do more! Governor
                                     ________ of Minnesota has rightly called for state
                                  ownership of mines, transport and public utilities. Huey
                                 _____ in Louisiana („the Kingfish‟) has the right idea. He
                                   is improving roads, education and making taxes more
                                   equitable. He wants to tax the wealthy to guarantee a
                                 minimum wage in his Share-Our-Wealth scheme. I will be
                                  voting for him in the 1936 elections and so probably will
                                                the 8m who share his views”.

                                                             The Old

                                         “A Dr. Francis _______________ demanded that
                                       pensioners be paid $______ a month. I agree with his
                                          ideas, though some say they make no economic
                                         sense. 5m old people have already flocked to join
                                        ___________ Clubs. Let‟s hope FDR listens to us”

                                                           The Church

                               “Father Charles ____________ and his National Union for Social
                                Justice are demanding the nationalisation of banks and so forth.
                                In his popular weekly _____ programme he reaches out to 30m
                                 people. However, people are saying he is an anti-Semite and
                                 sounding more and more like the Italian dictator __________
                                             every day, than like a true Man of God”
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                        27
Sourcework on Opposition to FDR

1. What is the cartoonist trying to say about FDR?

2. Who might have produced this cartoon? Explain their possible motive.

3. Can we trust this cartoon for evidence about opposition to FDR‟s policies?
          A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                        28
          The Second New Deal

          The 2nd Hundred Days came about in 1935, and were even more dynamic
          than the 1st, according to some historians. Michael Parrish has commented
          that “The Hundred Days may have saved capitalism, but 88 days in 1935
          literally changed the face of America for the next half century”.

          FDR was under pressure from the Left and felt compelled to introduce some
          of the ideas of long and Townsend into his agenda. The Republican-
          appointed Supreme Court had been attacking and striking down some of his
          previous measures and FDR wanted to replace them.

          What did he do this time?

          The Works Progress Administration                                   The Social Security Act

    The WPA aimed to provide work relief and eventually             This act created a compulsory national system
   employed 8.5m people and spent $11bn. Under Harry                  of old-age pensions and a joint federal-state
     Hopkins‟ dynamic leadership it was responsible for             system of unemployment insurance. However,
250 000 projects including roads, schools and hospitals. It           it was system based solely on contributions
     also had an enormous cultural impact on the nation                and so people had to wait to get access to
  providing work for artists, students, writers, dancers and        pensions. Benefits were low and proportionate
even puppeteers. However, it was criticised by the Left for         to previous income rather than being based on
  doing too little (it couldn‟t help 2/3 of the unemployed; it        minimum subsistence needs. Millions were
 paid low wages and didn‟t help those unable to work); on                exempted including farm labourers and
the Right it was predictably criticised for wasting resources       domestic servants. State to state benefits also
and for its boondoggles. Legitimate grievances included its              varied creating a system of bewildering
            wastefulness and political favouritism.                      complexity and inequality. But it did do
                                                                     something and would be the foundation for all
                                                                                 future welfare systems.

              The Wealth Tax
                                                      THE SECOND
                                                       NEW DEAL

                                                                 The National Labour Relations Act

    FDR wanted high taxes imposed on
   inherited wealth, corporate profits and
   rich people. The wealthy hated it and
    termed it a „soak the successful‟ tax.              The brainchild of the more radical Senator Wagner than
  FDR‟s motives were primarily pragmatic:                FDR himself (as he always distrusted unions) allowed
    to gain the votes of left-wingers who               workers to form and join trade unions, and was meant to
    liked Long and Townsend‟s policies.                   replace the NRA, which had been destroyed by the
                                                         Supreme Court. It tried to stop companies drawing up
                                                            blacklists, and helped increase union power and
                                                       membership. The pragmatic Wagner hoped that the higher
                                                         wages gained would be translated into benefits for the
                                                                           economy, generally.
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                     29
FDR’s Second Term – More Trouble
Roosevelt won a second term, because his Republican enemies were divided;
a third party rival never materialised once Huey Long had been shot dead
(FDR was always rather lucky); many people liked what FDR was trying to do
and had benefited from his reforms; Catholics and Jews, large immigrant
communities, tended to be solidly Democrat, while the trades unions were
pro-Roosevelt as well.

           FDR Supporters                        Republican Supporters
          Middle-class liberals                        The Wealthy
                Catholics                              Businessmen
                  Jews                             Newspaper tycoons
           African-Americans                       The Supreme Court
         Small Mid-West farmers                       Conservatives
               Urban poor                       Racist groups like the KKK
           Poor Southerners                             Libertarians

Roosevelt fought a bitter, class-based campaign and was re-elected in 1936
by 60.8% of the popular vote; he carried every state except two and lost only
8 electoral votes. He promised much at his inaugural speech. However.
Farmer and Sanders have said his second term was an “anticlimax”. He
faced more opposition and his own standing within Congress and his
Democratic Party declined.

Roosevelt took a confrontational approach to the nine old men of the Supreme
Court (average age 71) and their laissez faire and arch-conservative views.
FDR aimed to pack the court with six new appointees more favourable to his
policies, so increasing the number of justices to 15. His actions were an
unpopular disaster:

        He was accused of seeking to increase his executive powers by over-
         riding the independence of the judiciary; many even took to calling him
         a dictator;
        Democrat leaders were angry that he made no effort to consult them on
         the matter;
        He was accused of misleading electors as he had not mentioned his
         plans in the 1936 elections;
        Even those sympathetic to FDR disliked his devious approach to the
        His proposals divided the Democrat party along North-South lines;

FDR should have bided his time and let the „old men‟ simply drop dead. In the
end the Supreme Court capitulated and upheld key measures such as the
Social Security Act and the National Labour Relations Act. FDR had to back
down about his packing idea, but he had got his way in the end. However, he
had seriously damaged his standing in his party, especially amongst more
conservative Southerners and after 1937 he found it hard to win support in an
increasingly suspicious and nervous Congress.

Conservative Democrats despised the type of liberal and free-thinking people
who surrounded FDR; they disliked his supposed pro-Northern sensibilities,
his seemingly dictatorial tendencies and his relatively liberal, racial policies.
Others were states rightists (plus ca change…!); while some revered a
balanced budget and so distrusted his fiscal policy.
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                         30
Even the labour unions had started to turn against their mentor.

Union membership had jumped from 2m in 1933 to almost 9m by 1938.
However, the working classes can always be guaranteed to turn on each
other and the main union, the elitist AFL disliked the prospect of unskilled
labourers also being organised. So in 1935, the CIO was started to give
protection to all workers. In 1936-37, a wave of strikes by unions determined
that companies like US Steel and GM would recognise them. Such strikes
would previously have been ruthlessly crushed by the government. This time
it was employers and local police who did the dirty work. In Chicago, on 30th
May 1937, the Memorial Day Massacre took place, in which police killed ten
and injured 75 strikers at a steel plant. Strikers responded by intimidating
non-unionists, employers gangsters and organising novel, but effective tactics
like „sit-downs‟. The activities of the racketeer and Communist influenced CIO
did not go down well in „Middle America‟ and FDR received the blame. FDR,
ever the political opportunist, did not support strikes, but was afraid of
alienating his working class supporters, and so did not give much of a lead on
the matter.

FDR‟s actions in cutting government spending in 1937 sent the economy into
a recessionary spin and by 1938 unemployment had risen again to 11.5m.
FDR really only did something, asking Congress for money when mid-term
elections threatened not to go his party‟s way.

Farmer and Sanders like most historians ultimately do not give FDR much
credit for ending the Great Depression. “ … the threat of War, not enlightened
New Deal policies, forced government expenditure at levels previously

                                       “So! What do you think of me and my
                                               New Deal then...?
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                    31
The Role of WWII

                                                          And I need WWII…
It was WWII that brought an end to the economic turmoil within the USA.
Roosevelt had done his best to alleviate the suffering of the American people,
but he had never completely solved the problem of unemployment, which as
late as 1939 remained at 9.5m or over 17% of the workforce. By 1939, FDR
had run out of steam. His third term would see no New Deal domestic policy
proposals. His oratory about the Four Freedoms (from want, freedom of
speech, religion and fear) was rarely matched by action, as John Morton Blum
has observed.

Helped by the war boom, FDR would win an unprecedented third term in 1940
by gaining 55% of the popular vote, and only losing 82 electoral college votes;
he would win again in 1944 and so die in his fourth term of office.

Worn down by his efforts since 1933 (and by his smoking), FDR, however,
would die an exhausted man in April, 1945, not seeing the victory he had
worked so hard for.

WWII brought a number of economic benefits to the US. It:
   Reduced unemployment to 670 000 or 1.2% by 1944;
   The personal income of farmers more than doubled between 1940-45;
   Business profits rose from $6bn in 1939 to $10.5bn by 1945;
   The war led to co-operation between big business and government and
     a belated realisation that both could work together productively for the
     common good;
   Over 7.2m US servicemen would serve in the War;
   Between 1940 and 1945 the US produced for the War effort:

    100 000 Tanks                      300 000 aircraft                  93 000 ships

          Was it the New Deal or WWII that solved the US’ problems?

       Role of the New Deal                                         Role of WWII
       A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                         32
       Was the New Deal A Success or Failure?

     The Successes & Achievements                           The Failures & Limitations

   Rural Electrification Administration –        X NRA – was unpopular with many employers
     when FDR established this agency, in May      who resented the strict conditions and disliked
          1935, fewer than 20% of farms had            having to allow their workers the right to
      electricity; by 1945 this had risen to over  collective bargaining. Many small companies
         90%. Michael Heale has argued that           could not possibly cope with its myriad of
      “Probably no other single measure of the    regulations and excessive bureaucracy. It was
           New Deal was as responsible for         struck down by the Supreme Court in 1935 as
       transforming life in the American South”           unconstitutional (Schechter Bros.)
  Emergency Relief Appropriation Act –                X AAA – was hated by many as it was
       authorised the largest sum in US history     destroying food at the very time that many in
   ($4.8bn) and helped to prop up agencies like       the cities had to join breadlines and soup
                    the PWA and CCC                       kitchens simply in order to survive
  Public Utilities Holding Company Act –             X CCC – helped only young men and did
              helped provide cheap power              nothing for women or married, older men
  Resettlement Administration - provided         X Wealth Tax – like many of FDR‟s measures
         some aid to displaced tenant farmers              this one was diluted in Congress
 Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) -            X The Supreme Court – not only destroyed
   helped those in towns with mortgages to pay some of the New Deal, but FDR‟s attempts to
             and so they kept their homes                 pack it resulted in a loss of support
   Farm Security Administration – was            X The Roosevelt Recession - in 1938, due to
  designed to help small farmers and migratory        FDR‟s innate fiscal conservatism and his
                         labourers                consistent refusal to indulge in budget deficits,
 FDIC – designed to protect peoples‟ savings                  a new recession hit the US
  Wagner-Steagall Act – tried to deal with           X Unemployment – was never solved by
       slums by knocking the worst ones down               FDR, but by the coming of WWII
 Fair Labour Standards Act – established a X Strikes – Roosevelt was not a fan of strikes,
     minimum wage, a maximum working week            but his political pragmatism meant he was
    (44 hours) and forbade some forms of child-      afraid to criticise the unions in case he lost
     labour; the act was especially beneficial to      worker support; he was always first and
                 badly paid Southerners                  foremost the consummate politician
   TVA - environmental protection and an          X Propaganda – FDR always over-estimated
         economic boost for a huge previously       the dangers of revolution in 1933, in order to
      blighted area was one of FDR‟s best acts                      justify his actions
  CCC - provided both work for unemployed         X The Minorities – FDR only provided limited
         young men and improved the nation‟s         help and did not fundamentally change the
                        environment                          position of blacks in the USA
 AAA - helped to stop the panic in agriculture X Post-First Term – After 1936 FDR did less
        by reducing overproduction and raising     and less and the radicalism of the 1st and 2nd
                  profits farmers gained                 Hundred Days was never repeated
 WPA - gave the jobless self-respect through          X Federal Power – FDR expanded the
     work schemes and even benefited the US          government‟s power at the expense of the
       culturally by aiding writers, dancers and   states and he created administrative anarchy
                           artists                      with his numerous alphabet agencies
  FERA - The first works-relief organisation      X Luck – FDR was fortunate that Huey Long
       that left a lasting legacy of new schools, died in 1935 and that no third party emerged to
                 parks and playgrounds                        deprive him of votes in 1936
  NRA - did something to improve working          X Previous Foundations – FDR did build on
   conditions and allow labour to organise itself     some of the groundwork done by Hoover
 Social Security Act - at last Americans had X Rhetoric – FDR often promised much as in
   a safety-net & would no longer have to worry       his 1944 „Economic Bill of Rights‟, but he
      as much about unemployment & old age           frequently failed to deliver on his promises
       A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                              33
       How were different groups in US society affected by the New Deal?

      Native Americans Afro-Americans         Women   The Wealthy Small Farmers Southerners

 1. “The New Deal agencies are not fair at               2. “In some ways the New Deal helped us
  all! They are designed to help men, not               down here, but in other ways it did not. The
 us. We can still be paid less than men -                 TVA was a godsend and he helped our
  and the NRA codes allow this! Married                 poorest people. However, he still tended to
         women are regarded as the                     favour the Yankees over us - and he was far
  responsibility of their husbands and the             too sympathetic to the Negroes. Many of my
 Social Security Act gives no protection to              fellow Democrats feel FDR has too many
   servants nor housewives. We are still                dictatorial characteristics and is leading the
      very much second class citizens!”               country down the road to socialism, and as for
                                                            that damn Negro-loving wife of his…”

3. “That Roosevelt fella gave us some help.
They lent us money to keep afloat and tried              4. “In 1934, Roosevelt ended the forced
 to raise the prices we got by fixing quotas                assimilation of my people into white
     and hoarding our products until they                 society. He encouraged us to establish
reached a decent price. The administration                  our own self-governing bodies and
   was even willing to pour away milk and                  valued our ancestral traditions, rather
  slaughter livestock. However, I found the              than denigrating them, as the white man
latter policy offensive and I have to say the             had always done previously. However,
 government‟s policies helped the wealthier                 we still remain the poorest and least
    landowners more than it ever did us!”                 advantaged group in modern America”

 5. “Damn that man and his policies! He is a           6. “We won and we lost. The NRA excluded
demagogue. A modern Caesar, that‟s all. He                 us from skilled jobs and paid us lower
   has put 30% of Negroes on welfare and               wages! We were kept segregated when we
  created worthless jobs in his WPA or „We             joined the CCC. FDR will not do anything to
   Piddle About‟, as we prefer to call it. His         protect our civil rights, and as sharecroppers
Wealth Tax, though not as high as we feared,           we have received little help. However, to his
has penalised the successful - in aid of losers!        credit, he did give us welfare relief, and he
   His plans for the Supreme Court were a                 even gave some of us folks places in his
  disgrace and the unions are out of control.              government. Mary MacLeod Bethune
  He‟s a friend of the Jews and papists, and            headed the National Youth Administration.
   he‟s leading us into another major war in            Fancy that! His wife, bless her, was also a
   Europe, mark my words. Bring back the                decent sort. They say that in 1932, 75% of
Republicans, I say – and damn the phoniness              us voted Republican, but by 1936, 75% of
              of the „New Deal‟ ”.                               us were voting Democrat”.
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                34
Historiography on the New Deal

Historians, like contemporaries, are sharply divided on FDR and his New
Deal. Some admire it, others denigrate it. As with most things, those that
take a balanced and via media approach seem to have the most valid things
to say.

Use the internet and sites like (but not solely!) to find
more views, evidence and historiography about FDR and his policies

Critical Voices

        Farmer and Sanders argue that the New Deal “at best brought about
         only partial recovery” and that the poor remained poor and that GB and
         Germany handled the problem of unemployment much better than the
         USA; they even say that “arguably whatever economic success there
         was occurred despite New Deal policies not because of them”;

Complimentary Voices

        Farmer and Sanders point out that FDR had brought “jobs, electricity
         and hope”, much needed controls on banks, etc. and that his New Deal
         laid the foundations for the American welfare system; they claim FDR
         restored national morale and while FDR‟s government did little to
         redistribute wealth, it did re-distribute power between capital and labour
         more in favour of the latter;
 A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                                                      35


 Use your text books to find the answers.

   J. M Blum   Kenneth C. Davis Hugh Brogan   Ted Morgan   Samuel Rosemann   Alan farmer   Michael Heale

 1. Claims that FDR was a
   gifted politician who                                          2. The Roosevelt
  “could make half a loaf                                  administration was staffed
  [of bread] sound like a                                  with a wealth of ability and
          feast”.                                          skills never matched before
                                                                      or since.

  3. Emphasises how                                     4. Describes FDR as:
  modern America is a                                “evasive, cold, occasionally
 product of a change in                              brutal…boundlessly patient
thinking begun by FDR.                                     and generous”.

                                                               6. Criticises FDR by
  5. Argues many of
                                                           claiming there was, during
 FDR’s experiments
                                                             WWII, little substance
  failed, but that he
                                                            behind his oratory about
was always prepared
                                                                further reforms.
 to give new ideas a

   7. Claims many of FDR’s aims were conservative:
      designed to save capitalism, not destroy it.
A Level History M. Nichols SCIE 2010                                             36

Past Paper 5 Questions on the 1920s and the New Deal

        Evaluate the effectiveness of Progressivism on the United States
         politically, socially and economically from 1901 to 1916. [N. 2004]

        „The revolt of small town Americans against the cities‟. Discuss this
         assessment of the 1920s. [N. 2003]

        How far were the 1920s in the United Sates, a period of prosperity and
         optimism? [N. 2002]

        Account for the dramatic rise and fall of the revived KKK in the 1920s.
         [N. 2004]

        Why did the Wall Street Crash occur in 1929? [M. 2003]

        Why was opposition to the New Deal so fierce? [N. 2004]

                                                             Will you get one?

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