President Roosevelt and the New Deal
In the 1920’s or the ‘Roaring Twenties’ as they were then referred to, there was a great deal of money, crime and corruption floating around in the American economy and stock market. A lot of people were buying on credit and getting out loans to invest on the stock market. This was encouraged by President Hoover and his Republican government. The reason for their doing of this was partly to gain a lot of money for themselves and to make America look good for any visitors. It was a time of conservatism, it was a time great social change.
From the world of fashion to the world to politics, forces clashed to produce the most explosive decade of the century. In music, the sound of the age was jazz. The Jazz Age came about with artist like Bessie Smith and Duke Ellington. Youth ruled everything. From the young styles of dress to the latest celebrities. If it was young, it was the thing. The new age ladies of this time were young ladies who would go out wearing loose clothing and loads of make up (flappers) and this was unseen before in the States. It was the age of prohibition, it was the age of prosperity, and it was the age of downfall.
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The Government encouraged the people to buy lots of goods and to invest in the stock market. The poorer people looked at the rich people and thought that they could be as rich as them if they took out a loan, but the bank manager would see these people as unreliable in the terms of the people paying back the money. The bank managers therefore charged the poorer person maybe 15% interest where as if a person with a nice car and a large house came in to take out a loan then the manager would think that they are more likely to pay back the money so they would only put 5% interest on their loan.
This in fact put the poorer person in even more debt as they had to pay back a lot more than the richer person. It was also a time of great racism in America with the Ku Klux Klan operating in their most vicious period killing a lot of people and the police hardly took any notice of their actions. Most city officials were owned by the Mafia and they did whatever the Mafia wanted them to do. This greatly increased the rate of crime in most parts of America and because this was the time of prohibition the Mafia brought lots of alcohol into the country.
His party was a very relaxed with the economy and with the way it was run and they had adopted a policy of ‘laissez faire’. They said that they would not govern and guide the American economy but they would let it take its way down its own path and see where it ends up. Obviously they did not completely abandon it however they did not keep the right amount of watch on it as they should have done. This irregular regulation the economy led to an major imbalance in the products which America had been selling to their population.
The people that bought the large goods that fuelled the American economy, for instance cars, fridges and radios were not going to keep on buying them forever. If a family had a car then unless they were rich they would not invest in another car because there would be no need to. This is the same with fridges and radios because people did not need to buy two or three fridges or radios. Most people could manage with one fridge and again, unless you were quite well-off you were unlikely to buy more than one radio.
These major products therefore only had a limited field of marketing before the field was ‘over- farmed’ and nobody wanted to buy from that field anymore. This major reduction in sale therefore led to a major reduction in the amount of people employed by a company. For example, Ford motor cars would not have to employ as many people if they are not producing as many cars because they will not have to run as much machinery and the manual jobs will not be as substantial. Because of this many people were made redundant and were forced to go without a job.
During President Hoovers presidency there were no unemployment benefits so people who lost their jobs would have to either try and get another job or live on the money that they already had which for most peoples cases that was not a great deal of money. For most this money only lasted a couple of months so people started to sell a lot of their property and people started selling their houses to gain a little extra cash. In these cases most people did not get a lot of money for their houses and soon found themselves living in shanty towns or ‘Hoovervilles’ as a lot of Americans called them.
Hoover did not really care about the people’s situation and his policy was that people should sort out their own problems. These ‘Hoovervilles’ housed great quantities of crime (mainly with the Mafia), heavy drugs also supplied by the gangs and they were very dirty and run down. A new president was to be called for to sort out the problems that America had to deal with. These mainly were that the amount of crime had to be brought down and the Great Depression had to be lifted of the people of America. The man to propose these solutions was a man called Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Franklin was a very clever man who had had a good upbringing and who had always had money in his family While at Harvard, Franklin fell in love with Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth cousin once removed. Eleanor had had a trying childhood. Her mother, a beautiful socialite who gave her little affection, died when Eleanor was eight. Her father, Theodore Roosevelt’s brother, was spirited and charming. But he was unstable and alcoholic, and he died when Eleanor was ten. Orphaned, she lived with her maternal grandmother and entered her teens feeling rejected, ugly, and ill at ease in society.
When Franklin, a dashing Harvard man two years her senior, paid her attention, she was flattered and receptive. On March 17, 1905, the two Roosevelts were married. Her uncle Theodore, president of the United States, gave her away. The marriage was successful enough on the surface. Within the next 11 years Eleanor delivered five children (a sixth died in infancy): Anna (1906), James (1907), Elliott (1910), Franklin D. , Jr. (1914), and John (1916). Having been born into wealth, the Roosevelts never lacked for money, and Eleanor and Franklin moved easily among the upper classes in New York and Campobello.
Eleanor, however, was often unhappy. For much of her married life she had to live near Franklin’s widowed and domineering mother. Family duties kept her at home, while Franklin played poker with friends or enjoyed the good life. Later, during World War I, she was staggered to discover that Franklin was having an affair with her social secretary, a pretty young Virginian named Lucy Mercer. Despite these tensions, Eleanor remained a helpful mate throughout the 40 years of her marriage to Franklin. When he contracted polio in 1921, she labored hard to restore his emotional health and to encourage his political ambitions.
Thereafter, with Franklin confined to braces and wheelchairs, she served as his eyes and ears. Because she possessed deep sympathy for the underprivileged, she guided his social conscience. Franklin was the man who proposed to the American populace his solutions to get America out of the mess that the country was in. Previously In 1910 Roosevelt was elected to the New York Senate and made the governor of New York. While he was the governor he tried out some of his plans like unemployment benefits and these proved to work well in the recovery of people’s lives.
He was willing when he came to be elected for President to put these plans into action and the people liked this. The people believed that they could trust Roosevelt because he had put some of his plans into action before and they had worked well in New York. This why he beat Hoover by a landslide vote in the elections in 1932. When he became President he immediately set his plans rolling and the people knew that they had made the right choice in the form of a President and Government that were actually going to do something positive for the country.