Roosevelt’s New Deal

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt implemented a series of economic reforms between 1933 and 1936 that are collectively known as the New Deal. Some historians identify the New Deal as having two distinct stages with the first addressing major industry and the latter dealing with society as a whole. These changes were made in direct response to the hardships endured during the Great Depression and were developed to spearhead the recovery of the American people with various forms of financial relief. A limited welfare state was thus created in the United States with protective measures like work hour restrictions, child labor laws, and the promotion of worker unions. These and other aspects of the movement remain useful today as the problems encountered without such protective measures are easily observable in other countries like Bangladesh where even textile workers may risk their lives on a daily basis.

While the New Deal may not have produced immediate economic benefits, as is demonstrated by the immediate downturn in 1937-38, it did result in many important developments within the American political landscape. The Democratic Party rallied around Roosevelt’s liberal motivations while the Republicans focused on conservative perspectives that opposed such widespread government interference, setting the basis for party lines that is still apparent in virtually all political dealings within the country. The New Deal also acted as an inspiration for Johnson’s Great Society, which would address many important issues regarding equality. Roosevelt’s programs were accused of radicalism by conservatives, but could only be identified as being radical when contrasted with the equally extreme views that arose within Republican groups. The New Deal may have been an example of partisan politics, but it was not radical.