How did the New Deal aim to achieve reform, recovery, and relief?

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Franklin D. Roosevelt entered the office of the presidency in 1933 and swiftly passed a series of programs under The New Deal in order to restore economic balance during the Great Depression. Roosevelt declared a bank holiday over four days to prevent people from withdrawing their money from unstable banks and addressed the American people over radio broadcast, urging them to return their money to the banks. Within a month, close to 75 percent of banks had reopened. These broadcasts were part of around 30 speeches that became known as “fireside chats,” which uplifted the American people and addressed topics including the economic downturn and unemployment among a wide set of issues discussed.

Roosevelt’s initiatives in office included economic reforms intended to rescue the capitalist structure: in particular, policies protecting the system of American banks and regulating the stock market. The Civilian Conservation Corps was a significant public work relief program and the Civil Works Administration was established to create manual-labor jobs for the unemployed (though it did not last long). In an effort to reduce poverty in American farming communities, the Farm Security Administration was created to bring about “rural rehabilitation,” aiming to increase crop yield and improve the lifestyle of poor landowners. Roosevelt passed union protection programs and the Social Security Act, providing insurance to the unemployed, elderly, and other vulnerable parts of the population. The National Industrial Recovery Act attempted to address unfair competition and establish fairer work wages and prices, though it was only in place from 1933-1935, after which NIRA was ruled as unconstitutional.

Many more policies and agencies were established under the New Deal, in a series of legislation passed from 1933 to 1941. The New Deal improved the lives of citizens struggling during the Depression, and many programs still exist today: Social Security and unemployment insurance included. The New Deal saw its end upon the United States entering the Second World War in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. War spending doubled the gross national product (GNP), and the country reached full employment as factories filled with skilled and unskilled laborers.

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