The Great Depression began on October 24, 1929 with the stock market crash on Black Thursday. By the time that Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president in 1933, almost 25 percent of the American labor force was out of work, the banking system was in shambles, factories had shut down, and people had lost many homes and farms to foreclosure.
The New Deal was the fulfillment of FDR's promise to swiftly alleviate the plight of the American people. Upon assuming office, he immediately declared a four-day banking holiday so that the run on banks would stop. At the end of the holiday, only banks that were solvent were allowed to reopen. Many new federal agencies were created to address the needs of the people affected by the Great Depression.
For instance, the Tennessee Valley Authority brought electricity to rural areas and provided jobs. The Civilian Conservation Corps helped the environment while providing jobs to young people. The Works Progress Administration also provided many jobs in areas such as construction. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration stabilized farm prices. The Social Security Act guaranteed pensions for millions of older Americans. These are examples of the many projects that FDR's administration took as part of the New Deal.
These programs each targeted diverse sectors of the economy, and they were successful in their various limited areas. However, despite the prodigious efforts of the Roosevelt administration to put an end to the Great Depression through the New Deal, it dragged on. One hindrance was the opposition to New Deal policies by Roosevelt's conservative political adversaries. They attempted to invalidate these New Deal policies by having the Supreme Court declare them unconstitutional. FDR, in turn, threatened to add more liberal judges to the court.
Ultimately, the New Deal programs that Roosevelt initiated helped to improve the lives of millions of Americans affected by the Great Depression, but they did not end the Depression itself. The Great Depression did not end until after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The stimulation to American industry brought on by World War II brought an end to the Great Depression.