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In , Roosevelt established the Home Owners' Loan Corporation , which helped prevent mortgage foreclosures by offering refinancing programs. The Federal Housing Administration , established in , set national home construction standards and provided insurance to long-term home mortgages. Another New Deal institution, Fannie Mae , made home lending more appealing to lenders by helping to provide for the securitization of mortgages , thereby allowing mortgages to be sold on the secondary mortgage market.

The housing institutions established under the New Deal did not appreciably contribute to new house building in the s, but they played a major role in the post-war housing boom. Roosevelt had generally avoided the Prohibition issue, but when his party and the general public swung against Prohibition in , he campaigned for repeal.

The 21st Amendment was ratified later that year; he was not involved in the amendment but was given much of the credit. The repeal of prohibition brought in new tax revenues to federal, state and local governments and helped Roosevelt keep a campaign promise that attracted widespread popular support.

It also weakened the big-city criminal gangs that had profited heavily from illegal liquor sales. Although midterm elections normally see the party in control of the presidency lose seats in Congress, the elections resulted in major Democratic gains in the Senate and minor gains in the House. Roosevelt's New Deal policies were bolstered and several Democrats won in Northern, urban areas outside of the party's traditional base in the South.

By , the economy had recovered somewhat from its nadir, but the gross national product was still far below the figure from Roosevelt, among others, feared that the private sector would never again be able to provide full employment on its own. Like the CWA and the CCC, the WPA typically favored collaboration with local government, which often provided the plans, the site, and the heavy equipment, while the federal government provided the labor. Building new recreational facilities in public parks fit the model, and tens of thousands of recreation and sports facilities were built in both rural and urban areas.

These projects had the main goal of providing jobs for the unemployed, but they also played to a widespread demand at the time for bodily fitness and the need of recreation in a healthy society. Roosevelt was a strong supporter of the recreation and sports dimension of his programs. It was one of the first agencies that made an explicit effort to enroll black students.

The NYA work-study program reached up to , students per month in high schools, colleges, and graduate schools. The United States was the lone modern industrial country where people faced the Depression without any national system of social security, though a handful of states had poorly-funded old-age insurance programs. The proposal for a national health care system was dropped, but the committee developed an unemployment insurance program largely administered by the states.

The committee also developed an old-age plan that, at Roosevelt's insistence, would be funded by individual contributions from workers. After a series of congressional hearings, the Social Security Act became law in August Social Security taxes would be collected from employers by the states, with employers and employees contributing equally to the tax. But for the first time the federal government took responsibility for the economic security of the aged, the temporarily unemployed, dependent children and the handicapped.

Davis later called the Social Security Act "the most important single piece of social legislation in all American history. Though the Committee on Economic Security had originally sought to develop a national health care system, the Social Security Act ultimately included only relatively small health care grants designed to help rural communities and the disabled.

Table of contents

Roosevelt's strategy was to wait for demand for a program to materialize, and then, if he thought it popular enough, to throw his support behind it. Jaap Kooijman writes that Roosevelt succeeded in "pacifying the opponents without discouraging the reformers. Roosevelt never endorsed it, and with conservative in control of Congress, it stood little chance of passage.

Health insurance would be proposed in Truman's Fair Deal , but it was defeated. The National Labor Relations Act of , also known as the Wagner Act , guaranteed workers the right to collective bargaining through unions of their own choice. It prohibited unfair labor practices such as discrimination against union members.


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The Wagner Act did not compel employers to reach agreement with their employees, but, together with the Norris—La Guardia Act of , its passage left labor unions in a favorable legal and political environment. Steel granted recognition to the Steel Workers Organizing Committee. Roosevelt argued that the emergency spending programs for relief were temporary, and he rejected the deficit spending proposed by economists such as John Maynard Keynes. The veterans were well organized and strongly protested, and most benefits were restored or increased by In mid, Roosevelt began to prioritize a major reform of the tax code.

He sought higher taxes on top incomes, a higher estate tax , a graduated corporate tax , and the implementation of a tax on intercorporate dividends. In response, Congress passed the Revenue Act of , which raised relatively little revenue but did increase taxes on the highest earners.

Rockefeller , paid the top tax rate. Congress passed a bill that raised less revenue that Roosevelt's proposals, but did impose an undistributed profits tax on corporate earnings.

Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, first and second terms - Wikipedia

Roosevelt had a lifelong interest in the environment and conservation starting with his youthful interest in forestry on his family estate. Although FDR was never an outdoorsman or sportsman on TR's scale, his growth of the national systems were comparable. In the dozen years after its creation, the CCC built 13, miles of trails, planted two billion trees, and upgraded , miles of dirt roads. Every state had its own state parks, and Roosevelt made sure that WPA and CCC projects were set up to upgrade them as well as the national systems.

Ratifying Greatness: Franklin D. Roosevelt in Film and Television

His administration initiated the construction of numerous dams located in the South and the West. Although proposals to replicate the Tennessee Valley Authority in the Pacific Northwest were not acted upon, the administration completed the All-American Canal and launched the Central Valley Project , both of which irrigated dramatically increased agricultural production in California's Central Valley.

Roosevelt also presided over the establishment of conservation programs and laws such as the Soil Conservation Service, the Great Plains Shelterbelt , and the Taylor Grazing Act of Throughout his first two terms there was a fierce turf battle over control of the United States Forest Service , which Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace insisted on keeping, but Interior Secretary Harold Ickes wanted so he could merge it with the National Park Service. The Brownlow Committee report on administrative management convinced Roosevelt to propose the creation of a new Department of Conservation to replace the Department of the Interior; the new department that would include the Forest Service.

For Ickes, the land itself had a higher purpose than mere human usage; Wallace wanted the optimum economic productivity of public lands Both Interior and Agriculture had very strong supporters in Congress, and Roosevelt's plan went nowhere. The status quo triumphed. The New Deal approach to education was a radical departure from previous practices.


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It was specifically designed for the poor and staffed largely by women on relief. It was not based on professionalism, nor was it designed by experts.

How President Ronald Reagan Was Influenced by FDR’s Fireside Addresses to Promote Public Unity

Instead it was premised on the anti-elitist notion that a good teacher does not need paper credentials, that learning does not need a formal classroom and that the highest priority should go to the bottom tier of society. Leaders in the public schools were shocked: they were shut out as consultants and as recipients of New Deal funding. They desperately needed cash to cover the local and state revenues that it disappeared during the depression, they were well organized, and made repeated concerted efforts in , , and , all to no avail.

The federal government had a highly professional Office of Education; Roosevelt cut its budget and staff, and refused to consult with its leader John Ward Studebaker. The CCC did have its own classes. They were voluntary, took place after work, and focused on teaching basic literacy to young men who had quit school before high school. The relief programs did offer indirect help to public schools. The CWA and FERA focused on hiring unemployed people on relief, and putting them to work on public buildings, including public schools.

It built or upgraded 40, schools, plus thousands of playgrounds and athletic fields. It gave jobs to 50, teachers to keep rural schools open and to teach adult education classes in the cities. It gave a temporary jobs to unemployed teachers in cities like Boston. The CWA used "work study" programs to fund students, both male and female. Women received symbolic recognition from the Roosevelt administration but there was no effort to deal with their special needs. In relief programs, they were eligible for jobs only if they were the breadwinner in the family.

During the s there was a strong national consensus that in times of job shortages, it was wrong for the government to employ both a husband and his wife. The largest number, ,, worked on sewing projects, producing million items of clothing and mattresses for people on relief and for public institutions such as orphanages. Many other women worked in school lunch programs. Roosevelt appointed more women to office than any previous president, headed by the first woman to the cabinet, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. She tried to involve women at the local level, but she feuded with her counterpart, Mayor Fiorello H.

La Guardia , and had little impact on policy. Roosevelt had feared the possibility of either Huey Long or a progressive Republican entering the race to split the left-wing vote.

The Democratic convention also saw the abolition of the "two-thirds rule," which had required that the Democratic presidential nominee win two-thirds of the delegates rather than a simple majority. Roosevelt and Garner won In the congressional elections, Democrats expanded their majorities, winning over three-quarters of the seats in both the House and the Senate. The court struck down a major New Deal program for the first time through its holding in the case of A. The Supreme Court's holdings had led many to seek to restrict its power through constitutional amendment, but the difficulty of amending the constitution caused Roosevelt to turn to a legislative remedy.

The size of the Court had been set at nine since the passage of the Judiciary Act of , and Congress had altered the number of justices six other times throughout U. Any chance of passing the bill ended with the death of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Taylor Robinson in July , after Roosevelt had expended crucial political capital on the failed bill.

In a decision, the Court upheld a state minimum wage law that was similar to a state law that the court had struck down the year before; the difference between the cases was that Roberts switched his vote. The case was widely seen as an important shift in the Court's judicial philosophy, and one newspaper called Roberts's vote " the switch in time that saved nine " because it effectively ended any chance of passing the court-packing bill.

One of the Four Horsemen, Willis Van Devanter, stepped down that same year, giving Roosevelt his first opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, and several more Supreme Court vacancies followed. With Roosevelt's influence on the wane following the failure of the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of , conservative Democrats joined with Republicans to block the implementation of further New Deal regulatory programs.

The Housing Act of built , public housing units by The stock market suffered a major drop in , marking the start of an economic downturn within the Great Depression known as the Recession of — Influenced by economists such as Keynes, Marriner Stoddard Eccles , and William Trufant Foster , Roosevelt abandoned his fiscally conservative positions in favor of economic stimulus funding. By increasing government spending, Roosevelt hoped to increase consumption, which in turn would allow private employers to hire more workers and drive down the unemployment rate.

Roosevelt had always belonged to the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and he sought a realignment that would solidify liberal dominance. During the campaign he predicted privately, "I'll be in the White House for eight years. When those years are over, there'll be a Progressive party. It may not be Democratic, but it will be Progressive. His targets denounced Roosevelt for trying to take over the Democratic party and to win reelection, using the argument that they were independent.

Roosevelt failed badly, managing to defeat only one target, a conservative Democrat from New York City. After the mid-term elections, the conservative coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats seized control of Congress, bringing an effective end to the New Deal.