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Your paper should make an argument about the New Deal, including who was excluded from its programs, how different groups of Americans viewed Roosevelt’s policies, and the alternatives that they proposed during the 1930s.

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Your paper should make an argument about the New Deal, including who was excluded from its programs, how different groups of Americans viewed Roosevelt’s policies, and the alternatives that they proposed during the 1930s.

Category: Evaluation Essay

Subcategory: History

Level: College

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

The New Deal: Who was Excluded, How was it perceived by Different American Groups and the Alternatives they proposed?
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The New Deal: Who was Excluded, How was it perceived by Different American Groups and the Alternatives they proposed?
The New Deal was a response by Franklin D. Roosevelt following the biting effects from the Great Depression that began in late 1929 when the stock market crushed. America’s financial system crumbled while companies went bankrupt, and they then dismissed their workers in large numbers. Following the election Franklin D. Roosevelt into office, he acted speedily in stabilizing the economy through provision of jobs and relief to the people who were suffering from the effects of the Great Recession. The New Deal aptly summed up the government efforts over eight years from 1933 to 1942, and which included measures that were aimed at restoring prosperity and dignity to Americans.
The FDR lead New Deal effectively changed the central government relationship with the American people. During the first hundred years, Roosevelt urged Congress to end Prohibition, a divisive topic in the 1920s, and the effect was to make beer legal in America, which was ratified by the 21st Amendment. The Tennessee Valley Authority that was signed by the President in May 1933 enabled the federal government to construct dams along the Tennessee River, and this helped in controlling floods and generation of less costly hydropower for that region. During the same month, the US Congress made law that paid commodity planters to move out their farms to reduce surplus and increase prices.

Different Programs
National Industrial Recovery Act was enacted two months later to give workers the opportunity to form unions and collective bargaining power while suspending the antitrust law, and then establishing a Public Works Authority to be funded by the federal government. There were other congressional laws passed during Roosevelt time in office that were commonly engineered to bring the same effect. This period was commonly known as the first New Deal, and the Second New Deal, which was launched in 1935 after the unsuccessful first new deal almost, followed a similar path though exaggerated in implementation.

African Americans were excluded from the New Deal, as the president needed the Southern Democrats in backing his reforms( Domhoff and Michael 107). It is well known that the southern whites favored segregation policies, and did nothing to promote the cause of civil rights. Several new policies continued to entrench discrimination and racism in their implementations. For instance, the NRA authorized lower pay scales for African Americans than their white counter parts and provided whites the first opportunity at jobs. There was the housing program that expressly kept African Americans out of White Neighborhoods. The Social Security Act of 1935 excluded domestic and agricultural workers, which were predominantly occupied by African Americans. Sharecroppers and African American farm tenants were affected by new acreage reduction policies that were introduced by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. Hence, the fear of the Southern Democrats in the Senate made FDR to back off from supporting and rejecting discriminatory policies.

The programs also indicated a large section of the women in the country got a raw deal from the programs initiative by FDR. For instance, it is widely quoted that the programs had little effect on over 100 000 girls and women who roamed through railroad sidings and the United States streets. The programs ignored the plight of nearly four million women who were unemployed, as well as the needs of divorced, widowed and single women.

Criticisms and Alternatives During the 1930s

There was a general belief that the great depression was a result of the unrestrained capitalistic tendencies in the Country, and that Roosevelt programs were a mix of Communism, National Socialism, and Fascism. Roosevelt targeted relied for the poor, destitute, unemployed, disadvantage as well as make a recovery of the economy, and return it to the level of pre-depression, and reform the entire fiscal and monetary system. A section of Americans that perceived the New Deal to be the cure the ills that were affecting the country then and the programs implemented resulted in mixed outcomes. Typical of every reformation effort, the move to improve a section, ultimately led to discontent in another social or political group. According to a different group, the New Deal had eventually failed to fulfill its major target, and that was to create prosperity. Moreover, the New Deal helped in rebuilding and cementing the relationship that had earlier waned between the people and their government, and more importantly, Roosevelt as a reformer helped in constructing the role and obligations of the government to its people.
The American Liberty League lead by a fellow Democrat, Al Smith, challenged the ideals of the New Deal terming them as being un-American, and a fundamentalist attack on the basic tenets of capitalism (Greenberg et al. 159). Another group criticized FDR for doing little for people who had felt the effect of the economic crunch the hardest such as the elderly, the working class and the poor. In particular, Huey Long, a senator representing Louisiana, as an early ardent supporter of the programs, however, he began to accuse the president of only protecting the interests of the certain commercial interests. Long proposed an alternative to the New Deal, which he christened Share Our Wealth, and the goal of this alternative was to confiscate every individual’s personal fortune that amounted to more than $3 million, and the money realized would instead be used to buy vehicles and a home to each family in the United States. Within the same package, he demanded a national minimum wage as well as pensions for the old age, and cheap food to those who were deemed poor. Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest, was another vocal critic of the program, and he used his organization, the National Union for Justice on a weekly radio program to berate the president for being anti-God. The Catholic priest demanded that the less well off to be paid a certain amount that he had described as the fair wage. The man of the cloth teamed up with another loud critic, Frances Townsend, who also demanded that FDR led federal government provide citizens who are aged a 200 dollars monthly, and this was to be funded by a two percent sales taxes.
The United State Supreme Court also made a dissenting opinion on the programs, when they struck down certain pieces of the New Deal laws. In May 1935, the US Supreme Court annulled the NIRA arguing that US Congress had unlawfully transferred its powers to the presidency and then unlawfully interfered with state commerce. Further, the court declared AAA void due to its tax provisions (Sullivan 48). In their rulings, they indicated that the federal government had usurped the powers and adjudications of state duties.
Roosevelt new Deal programs failed in ending the Great Depression; however, they have had a lasting impact in the American history. A number of policies were appreciated by different people, in different locations. AAA and REA had enormous benefits to people in rural America. The expectations for African Americans for reforms using the programs were extremely high.
Works Cited
Domhoff, G., and Michael J. Webber. Class and power in the New Deal: Corporate moderates, Southern Democrats, and the liberal-labor coalition. Stanford University Press, 2011.
Greenberg, Brian, et al. Social history of the United States. ABC-CLIO, 2008.
Sullivan, Patricia. Days of hope: Race and democracy in the New Deal era. Haworth Press, 1996.

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