Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal
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Franklin Roosevelt
and the New Deal

   Franklin D. Roosevelt (on the right) was elected as president in 1932.  He promised voters that he would ask Congress to start government-run programs to create new jobs and get the economy growing again.

   Roosevelt called his programs The New Deal.  When he took office in early 1933, about 25 percent of workers in the country were unemployed.  It was a crisis situation for millions of families and the entire nation.

Roosevelt's speech that day is still well known. 
In the
most famous lines of the speech he told Americans:

"This great nation will endure
as it has endured, will revive
and will prosper. . . The only thing
we have to fear, is fear itself."

Once in office, FDR began a series of "fireside chats" by radio from
the White House.  These talks, in plain language and simple style,
helped explain his ideas and programs to the American public. 

The first goal of FDR's New Deal:
create jobs!

   The first goal of Roosevelt's New Deal was to create jobs by starting new programs run by the federal government itself.  These federal work projects gave help to unemployed people without making it look like a handout.

   The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was one of the largest of the New Deal programs.  The photo below shows men hired in San Diego by the WPA to expand the city sewer system.  Millions of unemployed workers all across the country were given jobs through the WPA.  They built new schools, airports, bridges, post office buildings, and more.

One of the first New Deal programs was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
It hired unemployed young men, mostly from cities, and put them to work in the
countryside.  They built roads and campgrounds in National Parks, and planted
millions of trees to reduce erosion of soil in farming areas.  So we can call this
both a federal work program, and an environmental improvement program.

Other goals of the New Deal

Congress agreed to create most of the New Deal programs Roosevelt wanted.
These programs were paid for with federal taxes on incomes and businesses.
Many different programs were created, but they can generally be grouped
in the categories shown below.  (Some of the New Deal programs
can be grouped into more than one category.)


We will look in more detail at the New Deal programs in the next few photo sets.
Not all of the New Deal programs were completely successful.  Most people at
that time, however, supported the effort by Roosevelt and Congress to try
any approach that might help. 

Looking Deeper:
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt

   Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt was an active First Lady, in part because her husband could not easily get out to meet people around the country.  His legs had been partially
paralyzed by the disease called polio, which he contracted as an adult.  The president could only walk a short distance, and only with the help of leg braces.

   Mrs. Roosevelt traveled widely in his place.  She was admired for her active role in public issues, and especially for reaching out to ordinary Americans of all social backgrounds.

   The White House Christmas card from 1935 is shown below.  Look at it carefully, and tell why the couple might have chosen to set up the family photo this way.

The historical photos are from the Library of Congress.
The New Deal graphic is by David Burns.
Some images have been edited or resized for this page.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright 2009, 2016 by David Burns.  All rights reserved.  As a guide to the Virginia Standards of Learning, some pages necessarily include phrases or sentences from that document, which is available online from the Virginia Department of Education.  The author's copyright extends to the original text and graphics, unique design and layout, and related material.