Assess the effectiveness of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

 

Thesis: Although the New Deal did not end the Depression, it was a success in restoring public confidence and creating new programs that brought relief to millions of Americans .

 

I. Introduction

            The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Presidency in 1932 buoyed the nation’s hopes.  Three years of relentless economic hardship had taken their toll on the American psyche.  Roosevelt’s overwhelming electoral victory over Herbert Hoover, the incumbent president, signaled a thorough rejection of the status quo and a yearning for novel approaches.  The new president did not disappoint.  During his first two terms in office, Roosevelt pushed legislation through Congress that set a new standard for government intervention in the economy.  Despite vigorous action, the economy did not respond as Roosevelt had hoped.  On the eve of World War II, unemployment rates still hovered around twenty percent and industrial production remained stagnant. Although the New Deal did not end the Depression, it was a success in restoring public confidence and creating new programs that brought relief to millions of Americans.

 

II. Background

            A. Problems of the Depression that the New Deal tried to solve

                        1. Sense of despair

                        2. Collapse of financial system

3. High unemployment

4. Shrinking economy

 

 

III. Supporting Evidence

A.     Wide Variety of Programs with Multiple Goals

1. Flurry of activity in “Hundred Days”

2. Most important to FDR was recovery legislation (quotation from Roosevelt about expected outcome of AAA or NRA)

 

            B. Reduced Unemployment

                        1. FDR knew recovery would take time, however, and so his first priority was putting people to work

2. CCC put people to work at productive tasks such as building park

facilities  (quotation from CCC worker)

                        3. WPA put people to work and performed needed construction tasks

(number of people employed through WPA)

            C. Created Social Security

                        1. FDR then adopted policies that would prevent suffering in future depressions (wording from Social Security Act)

                        2. Details of the social security system

                        3. Has become a cornerstone of financial security for senior citizens

 

IV. Contrary Evidence

            A. Did Not End the Depression

                        1. World War II did, but New Deal reduced the Depression’s worst effects

                        2. Some New Deal Programs such as Agricultural Adjustment Act were

declared unconstitutional, but at least Roosevelt was trying to find

solutions

 

V. Conclusion

            Your conclusion should not be a rephrasing of your introductory paragraph.  Although you should briefly summarize how the evidence supports your thesis and how it outweighs the contradictory evidence, you should also use the conclusion to consider the larger implications of your topic.  For example, in this sample assignment, you might consider any or all of the following points: the legacy of the New Deal, the impact of World War II on the American economy, and the continued growth of social programs in postwar America.