Roosevelt's Policy

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When Roosevelt became president, on March 4, 1933, the Great Depression was at its worst. Sixteen million or more people were unemployed, and many had been out of work for a year or even longer. The American banking system had collapsed. Whether Americans would be satisfied with the new leadership depended on Roosevelt's success in bringing aid to those in distress and in achieving some measure of economic improvement. Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration was able to create many laws that benefited the people, however the people complained that they were not created fast enough, even though they were effective and had a lasting impact on the federal government.

When Roosevelt became president, he immediately called a special session of Congress to deal with the depression rather than wait for the regular session in December. The legislation passed by Congress and signed by Roosevelt in the spring of 1933 was remarkable. The time period was called the Hundred Days. The special session had been called to deal with the banking crisis, economy in government, and changes to the liquor law. Congress quickly responded to the crises. The Emergency Banking Act was created, passed, and signed by the president during a single day and it gave the federal government sweeping power to deal with the banking crisis. The Beer Act made it possible to sell beer, which had been illegal under the 18th Amendment. The Economy Act reduced government salaries and pensions to meet Roosevelt's campaign pledge. The basic New Deal legislation was passed in slightly more than five years, from 1933 to 1938. Solutions were found for the problem of the unemployment. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) gave large amounts of money to the states. The subdivision to the FERA was the Civil Works Administration (CWA), which provided work relief for a large number of men during the winter of 1933 and 1934. In 1935 a new organization, the WPA was set up by executive order and the FERA was abolished. The WPA built roads, streets, schools, libraries, and other public buildings. Congress designed two relief operations specifically for young men, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the National Youth Administration (NYA). The most spectacular agency designed to promote general economic improvement was the National Recovery Administration (NRA), an organization set up NIRA, which was passed by Congress in June 1933. The NRA was designed to help business help itself by eliminating unfair competition through the establishment of codes of fair competition.
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