When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932, his most important mandate was to help the United States out of the Great Depression. This included both efforts to improve the economy and the institution of measures that would lessen the depression’s impact on US citizens. President Roosevelt was able to put a program together in a relatively short period by drawing on the strengths of advisers close to him, as well as negotiating deals and compromises with those who had been his opponents. More than anyone, Francis Perkins is considered the architect of the New Deal. She was the first woman ever appointed as U.S. Secretary of Labor.
The group of close advisers known as the Brain Trust included academics and public servants, including those who had experience with similar programs at the state level. Roosevelt placed his trust in their abilities and understood that differences of opinion were necessary if the executive branch was to create a set of policies that he could “sell” to the whole country. Although the advisers often clashed, initially generating reports of feuds and even stalemates, the process generated a wide range of options and helped the president craft the much-needed consensus. The process also supported a flexible approach to policy-making so that the New Deal could implement different strategies as its effect on the economy was felt and in response to uncontrollable natural and global political factors.