Chapter 1:
Beginning 20th c.
Chapter 2:
Progressives
Chapter 3:
World War I
Chapter 4:
1920s
Chapter 5:
Great Depression
Chapter 6:
FDR Era
Chapter 7:
World War II
Chapter 8:
Cold War
Chapter 9:
Vietnam War
Chapter 10:
1960s and 1970s
Chapter 11:
1980s and 1990s
Chapter 12:
2000s and Today

Chapter 6:
FDR Era

Primary Author: Brian Platte
The primary author is the individual who drafted the first version of this section; a section that could have been modified since it was originally published.

The Great Depression

Before we jump into the New Deal, we need to understand what America was like in the 1930s. With the success and prosperity of the Roaring Twenties in America's rearview mirror, the 1930s came to Americans as a surprise with the beginning of the Great Depression. These years were characterized with a staggering decrease in economic growth, record highs in unemployment rates among Americans, and the stock market crash. Americans went from successful investors and entrepreneurs to a life of homelessness and disparity, all in the span of a decade. All of these catastrophes were now placed upon new president elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, a man that Americans trusted would help them survive this sudden downturn.

The Banking Crisis

One of FDR's biggest challenges coming into office was the banking crisis. With the stock market at an all time low, people were rushing to the banks and withdrawing all of their money because of their lack of trust in the banking system. This mass withdraw caused the banks to look to the government for help, because of their inability to pay all of their customers. In response, Roosevelt introduced a "bank holiday" in which he closed all the banks for a seven-day period. On March 12, 1933, the last day of this bank holiday, Roosevelt addressed the American people in his first of many fireside chats. "Your Government does not intend that the history of the past few years shall be repeated. We do not want and will not have another epidemic of bank failures." (Roosevelt). With this powerful speech, Roosevelt was able to restore America's trust in the banking system and show a glimpse of America's progress out of the Great Depression.

The New Deal

With the banking crisis out of the way, Roosevelt now turned his attention towards the staggering unemployment rate that faced Americans. This prompted Roosevelt to release The New Deal, a series of laws and programs that were intended to help boost America out of the depression and back into the labor force (The New Deal).

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

One of Roosevelt's biggest programs enacted in 1933 was the Civilian Conservation Corps, otherwise known as the CCC. The CCC was a program included in the New Deal that gave jobs to unemployed men between the ages of 18 and 25 performing public works projects all around the country. These projects included the building of roads, improvement of forests, and increasing agricultural production through the means of nurturing old soil. The CCC ended up being a huge success with 97,000 miles of fire roads built, more than 3 billion trees planted, and overall satisfaction among its members. "My dreams have been realized, thanks to an educational advisor and he lessons learned in the CCC." (Freidel).

Works Progress Administration (WPA)

FDR believed that the key to recovery for Americans was not by government handouts, but through hard individual work. This prompted Roosevelt to enact the Works Progress Administration in 1935. The WPA was very similar to the CCC in regards that both programs were focused on public works projects such as building new roads and buildings. However, unlike the CCC, the WPA did not have gender or age discrimination, which granted an opportunity of employment to a wider range of Americans. FDR hoped that the sense of working and not receiving government handouts would give Americans a sense of entitlement and self-respect that would help boost America's morale. This ended up being the case for most Americans who viewed working for their own money was more self-respecting and rewarding than accepting direct relief (Freidel).

FDR's Impact on Americans

The New Deal allowed FDR to restore the lost confidence that Americans had towards government. This opened up the window of opportunity for America to escape the hardships of the Depression and start looking forward towards improvement. With new public works projects being completed due to Roosevelt's New Deal, not only did America itself endure a makeover, but also the entire mindset of all Americans was changed forever. They gained a sense of entitlement for their work in Roosevelt's New Deal programs and a new respect for the banking system.

Foreign policy before WWII

This section is being written by another primary author and will be forthcoming.

Works Consulted

    Abbott, Philip. The Exemplary Presidency: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition. Amherst: U of Massachusetts, 1990. Print.

    Tells about FDR's time as president and all of his accomplishments. Gives a summary of each major decision made in each of his presidential terms.

    "Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)." Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Web. 02 June 2014.

    Explains how the CCC was founded and how it stimulated the work force after an increase in unemployment due to the Great Depression.

    Ekirch, Arthur Alphonse. Ideologies and Utopias; the Impact of the New Deal on American Thought. Chicago: Quadrangle, 1969. Print.

    Demonstrates how the New Deal changed the way Americans think and how it impacted their lives during the struggles of the Great Depression.

    "Everyday Life during the Depression." Everyday Life. Web. 010 August 2014.

    Explains how life was in the Great Depression era. Helps gain the perspective of what it was like to endure the hardships of the Great Depression.

    "FDR's Fireside Chat on the Recovery Program." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration. Web. 010 August 2014.

    Gives a backdrop of one of FDR's fireside chats that was made to explain the Recovery Program he had in place for Americans at the time.

    Francis, Henry W. "Report, Clarksburg, West Virginia, December 1, 1934." Report, Clarksburg, West Virginia, December 1, 1934. Web. 010 August 2014.

    A letter written to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration explaining how the Great Depression has left them without work. Shows how the Great Depression hurt the coal industry.

    Freidel, Frank. The New Deal and the American People. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964. Print.

    Explains how the New Deal affected each American in a different way. Shows how much the country needed a boost from the government and how anxious they were when the New Deal was first announced.

    Golay, Michael. America 1933: The Great Depression, Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Shaping of the New Deal. New York: Free, 2013. Print.

    Shows how the government tried to meet the needs of its people in the Great Depression Era. Explains how the New Deal was formulated and based off of what values.

    Grapes, Bryan J. Franklin D. Roosevelt. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 2001. Print.

    Explains how each decision that FDR made in each of his presidential terms affected America. Also, how each decision left a lasting legacy and critiques FDR's New Deal laws.

    "The Great Depression (1929-1939)." The Great Depression (1929-1939) . Web. 01 June 2014.

    Gives a perspective of the Great Depression and how catastrophic it was to Americans. Shows how FDR entered the presidency in a time of hardship and panic.

    Hardman, John. "The Great Depression and the New Deal." The Great Depression and the New Deal. Web. 010 August 2014.

    Gives an overview of the Great Depression and the New Deal laws that were enacted by FDR and how they impacted Americans. Also gives an insight on blacks during the Great Depression and how they were treated.

    "Living New Deal." Living New Deal. Berkeley University. Web. 02 June 2014.

    A timeline of the New Deal and the laws that were enacted as well as the programs that were designed to help Americans get through the Great Depression.

    Mullins, William H. "Works Progress Administration." Works Progress Administration. Web. 010 August 2014.

    Gives a summary of the Works Progress Administration and how it affected Americans in the Great Depression era.

    "New Deal." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 010 August 2014.

    Gives an overview of what FDR had to endure during his first hundred days in office. Also gives a summary of the Second New Deal and the laws that were enacted.

    "The New Deal." The New Deal. Web. 010 August 2014.

    Gives a summary of the year 1933 for FDR and a timeline of all of the laws that were passed in his New Deal that year.

    Polsky, Andrew Joseph. Elusive Victories: The American Presidency at War. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Print.

    Tells about FDR and his decisions outside of the New Deal. Helps readers understand how and why FDR made the decisions he did and helps gain a perspective into the true character of FDR.

    Roosevelt, Franklin D., and B. D. Zevin. Nothing to Fear: The Selected Addresses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1932-1945. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1946. Print.

    Composition of FDR's scripts from all of his fireside chats. Shows readers how FDR was a good public speaker and how he could captivate an audience.

    Roosevelt, Franklin D. "Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program, 07/24/1933." Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program, 07/24/1933. Web. 010 August 2014.

    Actual manuscript of FDR's fireside chat given to Americans on 7/24/1933 explaining the purposes and foundations of the Recovery Program.

    "Works Progress Administration." Works Progress Administration. Web. 010 August 2014.

    Explains the WPA and the progress that it made during its first couple years after being enacted by President FDR.






Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivering a fireside chat.