The Great Depression started in the USA on October 29, 1929 with the collapse of American stock market. It became a real challenge not just for the US citizens, but for the entire world. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1933, and, unlike his predecessor president Hoover, he achieved a success in fighting the Great Depression with his so called “New Deal” and the World War II (The White House n.pag.).
Among the most sufficient backgrounds of the Great Depression, the wealth concentration in the investor class can be noticed. Analytics and politicians ignored the factors warning about the crisis coming and made people over-invest and speculate with stock that led to their price growth. However, the worst began in 1920s, when banks started to loan to stock buyers as the stocks were the most profitable element on the market. Practically, on the 29 October, 1929, the banks have lost all their money due to the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange as well as the deposits of the population invested in them (Collins University n.pag.).
Franklin Roosevelt was the person who managed to help Americans regain their faith in themselves and their nation. He entered politics as a democrat. By the time he was elected, American economy had already been through 3 years of depression. Millions were unemployed, currency valued less than supposed, most of the banks failed, people had no spirit to fight anymore. A candidate from a democratic party could release the nation from this pressure by conducting a governmental growth, giving it the possibility to effect the economic situation with legal acts. Roosevelt took an urgent action towards banks, while the Congress took an Emergency Banking Relief Act to more or less stabilize the system. Roosevelt was working on the New Deal plan during the first 100 days of his administration. The New Deal programs were based on the idea of a liberal political alliance of minorities, intellectuals, labor unions, and farmers. It is known that during the period of the Great Depression, men were affected more than women as their psychology is set to be a getter for the family. Many argued that women had to stay in line to be hired after unemployed men, but the New Deal increased the amount of social services, the positions of which were traditionally occupied by women. Thus, the percentage of unemployed women decreased. The situation was also tragic for the Africans Americans as their workplaces were taken away from them and given to the whites. Around 50 per cent of the Africans Americans population was unemployed. The New Deal banned discrimination.
Several acts were put into action under the New Deal program. According to the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA, 1933), the government decided to pay the farmers to produce less in order to keep the economy free from the overproduction. Due to the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA, 1933), the industrial sectors were encouraged to avoid dumping, the powers temporarily removed the anti-monopoly laws and turned to the price-fixing. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA, 1933) provided millions of dollars to arrange the program for building dams, electric power generation, and erosion control along the Tennessee River that made it possible to give many people highly paid workplaces. The National Labor Relations Act (1935) was aimed to fight for the employees rights and their wages rise (The Great Depression n.pag.)
When the World War II started, the government increased its spending part to make necessary preparations for it. Therefore, it can be considered one of the factors leading to the end of the Great Depression. America returned pre-depression levels of employment and prosperity.
According to the ideological prospective that differed for scholars, the Great Depression and the New Deal were viewed differently. Conservative scholars approved the idea of laissez-faire, saying that under those conditions, the economy would restore itself if left without interference. Liberals suggest considering laissez-faire a failure, claiming that the government should react on social needs of the population. The leftists refer to the failure of the entire market capitalism system, considering the laissez-faire a capitalism`s replacement for a partnership between government and the corporations.
The Great Depression was probably the most horrible time in the American history. However, with Roosevelt’s New Deal, it became a push to the new level. It changed the relationship between the government and the American people.