Franklin Delano Roosevelt And The Great Depression Essay

Franklin Delano Roosevelt And The Great Depression Essay

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt is memorialized in the minds of Americans as one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever known. His programs ended the Great Depression, he brought Americans together after the attacks on Pearl Harbour and he lead the country to victory against fascist Germany during WWII. He was a Democrat, arguably a socialist, and a man of the people. When he was first elected at the height of the Great Depression in 1933, he was faced with what seemed an impossible task of ending the Great Depression. The Great Depression was, at this point, not just a economic problem but a problem deeply imbedded in the American psyche: we didn’t believe anyone could fix the problems. For a president known for how he addressed the people, on the surface his first stand in front of them seemed peculiarly weak. At first glance, Franklin Roosevelt’s 1st Inaugural address is neither concise nor particularly straightforward, something not mirrored in the famous speeches of his 3 presidencies. Upon further inspection, however, you can see the beginnings of the president we understand him to be today.

“our common difficulties...concern, thank God, only material things”

Despite how Roosevelt moves to downplay what was occurring in the United States and throughout the world, the difficulties did not just concern material things. When FDR took the stand in Washington, the economy had been in freefall for four years. In 1929 the unemployment rate was 3.2% but now it was nearly 25%. This left approximately 15 million Americans unemployed, one of the highest rates of unemployment in the world (Shmoop). In 1932 Harlem had an unemployment rate of 50% (Shmoop). In 1928- the year before the economy crashed- the gross national product (GNP) had b...


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...f the EBA Congress declared their support of Roosevelt’s wild plans, support which would increase from there. They would ratify the 21st amendment, officially ending prohibition and back things like the Tennessee Valley Authority Act or the National Industrial Recovery Act. In the end the Roosevelt administration would pass upwards of 15 New Deal plans in an effort to boost the U.S. economy, things that would not have been possible had Roosevelt not demanded and been given certain liberties.
FDR’s war on the Great Depression begins with speech, and the extraordinary change the U.S soon saw can trace it’s roots to these words however useless they may seem. Before triumph could be reached however The United States would be launched headlong into WWII. The mutual trust that got America and it’s leadership through WWII is fostered here, in FDR’s First Inaugural Address.

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