Asses the degree to which the Roosevelt New Deal was a "revolutionary and radical" approach to solving the problems of the Great Depression.   Details please

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tjbrewer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In contrast to the ideas of Herbert Hoover, The New Deal held very radical ideas.  Never before had such regulations been slapped across such broad swaths of the Economy to curb excesses that had led to the Great Depression.  Yet at the same time, it was almost insignificant compared to the very socialist measures taken against the same problems in Europe.  In fact if measured by effect, the New Deal actually did very little. 

Amongst the most radical ideas was massive regulation.  In the 20s there had been massive growth in the Stock Market, with prices going up every day.  Unfortunately little of this growth was backed by consumer spending, and so did not reflect the lack of profitability.  Many of the transactions were done on margin (loans) and many of the transactions fell victim to Ponzi schemes.  When the lack of profits was realized in 1929, the market crashed, and the Ponzi Schemes were all revealed.  The other major problem of the time was overproduction.  The farms were producing so much that there was a glut in the market.  This drove down the price of farming products and that caused many of them to lose profitability.  This loss of profitability then led to loan defaults and other problems.  The New Deal created the Dept of Agriculture to stop overproduction, and thus restore profitability to farming. 

This was unprecedented compared to Hoover.  Hoover hadn't done much of anything in response to the Great Depression's onset, assuming it would fix itself.  When Hoover finally did cave he did so hesitantly and half-heartedly with measures that were too little too late. 

Compared to Europe this was tame.  In Europe not only were such regulations imposed, but steep progressive taxes to undo the excesses that had been fueled during the roaring 20s.  In fact the term NAZI was actually a German acronym for National Socialist, and its stated campaign goals were to redistribute incomes across the German Economy.  Ultimately, it proved to be a very sinister and bigoted regime with disastrous consequences.