Five Minute History with your Morning Coffee: What was the "New Deal"?

While the Great Depression began with the stock market crash on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, many factors contributed to the financial crisis, including overproduction, limited foreign markets (due to war debts that prevented trading), and over expansion of credit, as well as stock market speculation.  Soon the country was in the grips of a severe economic downturn that affected most every American.  Some were harder hit than others:  many lost their jobs (16 million people people were unemployed at the depth of the crisis, accounting for about a third of the workforce); families were unable to make their mortgage payments and lost their homes; hunger was widespread, since there was no money to buy food.  The sight of people waiting in breadlines was a common one.

It was amidst this crisis, which was soon felt overseas, that Franklin D. Roosevelt took office as president in 1933.  In his inaugural address, he called for faith in America's future, saying, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  Roosevelt soon rolled out a program of domestic reforms called the New Deal. For the first time in American history, the federal government took a central role in organizing business and agriculture.  Roosevelt initiated aid programs and directed relief in the form of public works programs that would put people back to work.  The new government agencies that were set up included the Public Works Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Security and Exchange Commission, National Labor Relations Board, Tennessee Valley Association, the National Recovery Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.  These government organizations soon become known by their initials (PWA, FDIC, SEC, NLRB, TVA, NRA, CCC).  Roosevelt's critics charged him with giving federal government too much power and began calling his New Deal "alphabet soup."  The president became widely known as FDR.

Though the New Deal measures alleviated the situation and did put some Americans back to work, the country did not pull out of the Depression until industry was called upon to step up production in order to provide arms, aircraft, vehicles and supplies for the war effort.  It was during the early days of World War II, the economy buoyed by military spending, that the nation finally recovered.  Many New Deal agencies are still part of the federal government today.


The Handy History Answer Book, Second Edition (The Handy Answer Book Series)

A concise guide to all things historical, this compendium addresses people, times, and events in a wide-ranging and comprehensive manner, complemented by helpful illustrations and a chronology of major events. Some of the history-making events include the election of George W. Bush, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; spectacular images from probes in outer space, medical advances and debate, and many new scientific discoveries on Earth; a devastating earthquake in Iran and the deadly tsunami in Asia; the downfall of Enron and the comeback of Apple, as well as the dot-com bubble burst. Beginning with a section on historical eras, this popular reference source tracks history and organizes information in 13 specific subject sections, ranging from politics and war to science and religion. It tackles exploration and settlement, technological advances, legal fireworks, financial and business events, social movements, natural and man-made disasters, medicine and disease, and art and culture. This resource is the perfect fingertip, time-traveling guide through the pages of history.

The 2015 release edition;

The Handy American History Answer Book (The Handy Answer Book Series)