Roosevelt’s Plan to End the Great Depression Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the President of the United States of America in 1932, only three years after the great depression, was in response to the need for peace amidst the population’s intense fears (Polenberg 54). During his re-election speech in 1936, Franklin claimed that his first term aimed at delivering this peace to the people.

To begin with, people felt insecure in their homes due to the “temporary nature of their jobs, the lack of profits, and the inability to make significant returns in their enterprises” (Polenberg 54). Secondly, people sought to have peace in the society at large, which would allow the “local government to provide the communities with needs such as sanitation, schools, and playgrounds, among others” (Polenberg 54).

Thirdly, Franklin noted that people yearned for global peace and “favorable relations between the US and other nations” (Polenberg 54). It is evident that, after four years as the president of the US, Franklin Roosevelt was fully aware of the needs of the American people. However, one may wonder whether he was aware of the people’s challenges when he assumed power in 1932.

Based on Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address in March 1933, it is evident that he had a plan to change the devastating state of the American economy. According to Roosevelt, a part of the problem was due to the relief provided by the federal government. He argued that the issue of “food and cash for the delivery of minor jobs diminished the vitality of the people” (Polenberg 51).

Out of the five million unemployed citizens under the relief role, Roosevelt noted that only a third of the group was reliant on the state for their livelihood, before the great depression (Polenberg 51). With this in mind, he presented security legislation to the Congress that would see the needs of the one and a half million citizens, who were incapable of living independently, addressed.

This proposal sought to “empower the local communities and make the three and a half million people on relief, self-reliant, once again” (Polenberg 51). When he assumed the presidency in 1932, Franklin acknowledged the challenges of the nation, and also the way to get them out of the great depression. He urged the people to eliminate fear and believe in the possibility of better times.

Besides the change in ethics, Franklin also urged people to take action of the situation by being selfless in their dealings (Polenberg 41). The restoration process involved creating jobs for numerous unemployed people. The jobs would be provided by the government and the industries on a national scale, hence, ensuring decentralization of processes, and redistributing the growth process nationwide (Polenberg 41).

This would, in turn, “increase the purchasing power of individuals, which would add value to agricultural products and reduce farm losses” (Polenberg 42). Franklin also sought to reduce costs incurred in the relief activities by unifying the federal, State and local governments’ processes. This involved “central supervision and control of various utilities including transport and communication” (Polenberg 42).

In the endeavor to return people to work, Franklin also sought to avoid the recurrence of activities that led to the depression in the first place. He achieved this by ensuring “strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments” (Polenberg 42) to reduce speculation, and the provision of an adequate and proper currency (Polenberg 42).

In conclusion, it is evident that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a plan to end the depression from the moment he stepped into office. This argument is supported by his claim that he had ended the involuntary idleness of thousands of young men three years earlier while addressing a crowd in Virginia in 1936 (Polenberg 65).

Works Cited

Polenberg, Richard D. The Era of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1945: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford Series in History & Culture). Boston : Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. Print.

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