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As framed by candidate Franklin Roosevelt, the "new deal" with the American people if he was elected president would create the conditions necessary to bring the US out of the Great Depression.
The New Deal was based on addressing the Three Rs: Relief for the needy, economic Recovery, and Reform for permanent changes to systems that failed and led or contributed to the development of the economic circumstances shaping the Depression.
Relief for the needy was critical. Programs were implemented to create opportunities for unemployed individuals to find constructive employment in activities that benefited the infrastructure of the country while giving purpose and training to millions. Economic Recovery activities led to programs supporting agriculture and business interests trying to rebuild and recover. Reform in the way the nation's banks were supervised and organized gave the public the confidence to again trust in institutions whose failure had a huge impact on the development of the crisis that became the Great Depression.
There were two major goals of the New Deal. The first and most urgent goal was to end the Great Depression. The second goal was to prevent a similar catastrophe from happening in the future.
To achieve the first goal, FDR put in place a number of programs meant to create jobs. He created, for example, the CCCs and the WPA. Both of these programs put people to work on government jobs. He also created programs that gave relief to the poor.
But FDR also wanted to prevent future depressions. To try to do this he created government agencies that were meant to do things like preventing poverty among old people (Social Security), prevent people from losing money in bank failures (FDIC) and prevent fraud against investors (SEC). He also created things like the TVA that were meant to strengthen the potential of the US economy.
The New Deal, then, was meant to ameliorate conditions in the short run and to prevent future depressions.
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