The New Deal

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Explain how the Depression and New Deal fundamentally changed the role of government in the lives of the American people.

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The federal government's response to the Great Depression with the New Deal marked a permanent change in domestic policy. Previously, the government took a rather hands-off approach to manage the domestic affairs of the people. However, the Great Depression forced many policymakers to see that local governments and private charities...

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The federal government's response to the Great Depression with the New Deal marked a permanent change in domestic policy. Previously, the government took a rather hands-off approach to manage the domestic affairs of the people. However, the Great Depression forced many policymakers to see that local governments and private charities were insufficient to mitigate the damage being done to most Americans and the economy. That is why the Roosevelt administration instituted the New Deal programs.

One fundamental change was taking the country off of the gold standard. Roosevelt and the Treasury put policies into place that stopped the outflow of gold from the country. Gold was then exchanged for dollars. All this allowed the Federal Reserve to have better control over the value of the dollar.

Many New Deal programs were implemented to create work for the people. Never before had the government taken such a large scale and active role employing civilians. Work programs included the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Work Project Administration. The government also passed minimum wage laws and passed the Social Security Act. These were, and still are, guarantees by the federal government that all working Americans could earn a certain standard of living. The Federal Housing Administration was created to set national standards in home construction, and the Home Owner's Loan Corporation ensured that fair mortgages were given.

All this greatly expanded the role of the government by making it a guardian of the basic needs of Americans. Many of these New Deal programs still exist today.

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