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FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT AND THE NEW DEAL

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the Democratic candidate for president. Roosevelt, a wealthy aristocrat, was a distant cousin of Teddy Roosevelt, and his wife was Teddy's niece Eleanor. FDR had been the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1920 — tall, athletic, and maybe just a little stuck up. Beaten for vice president in the Harding landslide, in 1921 he was struck by a disease that paralyzed his legs for life. He didn't give up, but he did begin to see what a struggle life could be for what he called the forgotten man.

FDR was governor of New York when the Depression hit, and he immediately launched relief programs that reached worried people. His campaign song is still a theme for the Democratic party: "Happy Days Are Here Again." People believed in his hope and determination, and Roosevelt beat Hoover in a landslide.

His inaugural address contained now-famous words, quoted here in a slightly extended version to show their serious context: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Roosevelt's New Deal (1933) program centered on three R's: relief, recovery, and reform:

- First, FDR wanted to provide immediate relief from hunger and homelessness, very real problems in 1933 when one out of four Americans was unemployed.

- Second, the New Deal hoped to help the economy recover so that people would have stable jobs and businesses with which to support themselves.

- Third, the Democrats planned to reform the system so that no American would have to suffer another Great Depression again.

A newly elected, heavily Democratic Congress passed a great amount of legislation so quickly that it became known as the Hundred Days (1933) of the new administration. Roosevelt wanted to fix agriculture, banks, and jobs without nationalizing basic industries.

Example

Question: What were Roosevelt's key aims with the New Deal?

Answer: FDR wanted to save the country and the capitalist system by reforming banks, agriculture, and jobs without nationalizing major industries.

 
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