Great Depression

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How did President Roosevelt influence the recovery from the Great Depression?

President Roosevelt instituted a number of new laws and federal programs that helped the United States recover from its Great Depression. Roosevelt passed the Emergency Banking Act and the National Industrial Recovery Act, and created the Tennessee Valley Authority along with other work programs. Overall, President Roosevelt's decisive action helped raise Americans's confidence and decrease the unemployment rate.

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On assuming office in March 1933, President Roosevelt (FDR) knew that the first step he had to take in getting the United States out of the Great Depression was to restore confidence. Naturally, the confidence of consumers, workers, and businesses alike had taken a huge hit in the wake of the Wall Street crash.

In turn, this confusion and anguish led to the collapse of numerous banks. People raced to withdraw their money. As a thriving banking system is the foundation of a healthy capitalist economy, FDR knew that he had to restore confidence in the system and ensure against a complete collapse.

To this end, he immediately instituted a four-day bank holiday to stop people and businesses from withdrawing their money. He then passed the Emergency Banking Act, which closed down insolvent banks and reorganized those still in business.

In one of his famous radio broadcasts to the nation, known as "fireside chats", Roosevelt encouraged the American people to put their savings back in the bank. His efforts to reassure the American people worked, and by the end of his first month in office, almost three-quarters of the banks had reopened.

FDR then set to work dealing with the scourge of mass unemployment. To this end, he established a number of New Deal programs designed to get American back to work. One of the most important of these programs was the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which allowed the Federal government to build dams along the Tennessee River. The TVA provided electricity to many communities that previously didn't have power and created much-needed jobs for unemployed Americans.

During the first stage of the New Deal, FDR also attempted to stimulate economic recovery by the passing of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). The NIRA authorized the President to regulate industry to ensure fair wages for workers and fair prices for consumers. It was hoped that this legislation would put more money in people's pockets, thus stimulating consumer demand.

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