Good Argumentative Essay On The New Deal And The Great Depression

Published: 2021-06-21 23:37:53
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President Herbert Hoover was born from a relatively humble Midwestern family in Iowa. His father was a blacksmith. As an administrator, Herbert Hoover considered himself progressive. His ideas were encapsulated in what was called the “new era” politics. His premise was on American individualism that argued for less regulation from the government. Hoover had a sterling reputation having been a successful an entrepreneur. The crash of the stock market of 1929 happened after a series of tough financial times. The fall of real estate prices, the reduction in demands of American produce declined due to recovering European manufacturing industries. The depression was hard time. Americans took to the streets in search of jobs, lost homes, and found it difficult to afford food. The Hoover administration opposed efforts of cutting spending by reducing spending on the military because of the fear of foreign aggression ( Prescot, 1999). Many Americans felt that Hoover was uncaring. In his argument, Hoover argued that downturns were a normal aspect of capitalism and the market would regulate itself. The Hoover advisors felt that government spending would do very little to spur economic growth again. Perhaps one of the reasons for the lack of knowledge stemmed from the obvious lack of understanding on the workings of the collapsed capital system. As a desperate attempt to control the situation, Hoover signed the Hawley-Smoot Tariff which raised taxes on consumer goods. The taxes only exuberated the situation. In 1932, Hoover admitted that voluntary action had failed to stop the depression. The failure of the unchecked political market and the ideas of Herbert Hoover paved way for the success of FDR’s New Deal ( Rauchway, 2008).
Before 1940s, the role of Federal government in the days of Presidents before FDR was largely undefined and mostly overshadowed by the political parties which were powerful. The aggressive political parties played the roles of Federal government. Because of the different interests of the parties and internal squabbles which rocked the parties, the Federal government was sidelined as the presidency was only a symbol of control but the real power lay in the hands of the party boss machines. In most cases the party’s aims were only to win the elections and not to define the outlined role of the central government. However, the role of Federal government was hugely changed in the Presidencies of Roosevelt. President Roosevelt called for the nation to redouble its effort to aid those “who have too little”. According to Roosevelt, the depression had been conquered but he understood the need for reformation of “one-third of the country that is ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished.” Roosevelt’s new deal was an attempt to increase federal power in issues such as welfare, infrastructural development, and job creation ( Romer, 1992).
Theodore Roosevelt envisioned the Federal government not as the agent of any particular interest but as a mediator of the public good, with the president as the center. He was opposed to the principle of economic concentration, he favored progressives who urged regulation of the trusts, and he had the desire of the government winning the control of the activities of the trusts and the corporations. He invoked the Sherman Antitrust Act against a new railroad monopoly in the North West. Reform was not Roosevelt’s top priority during his years as the president; he was concerned with winning reelection, which required that he not antagonize the Conservative Republican Old guard. He skillfully dispensed patronage to conservatives and progressives alike to ensure that he easily won the nomination to the presidency. In his early life as a president, Roosevelt was largely conservative. Roosevelt’s New Nationalism believed in accepting economic concentration and using government to regulate and control it.
The role of Federal government in the days of Presidents was largely undefined and mostly overshadowed by the political parties which were powerful. The aggressive political parties played the roles of Federal government (Reynolds, 2009). Because of the different interests of the parties and internal squabbles which rocked the parties, the Federal government was sidelined as the presidency was only a symbol of control but the real power lay in the hands of the party boss machines. In most cases the party’s aims were only to win the elections and not to define the outlined role of the central government. However, the role of Federal government was hugely changed in the Presidencies of Roosevelt and Woodrow. Roosevelt for example argued that the Federal government was not an agent of any particular interest but as the mediator of the public good and the president as the center of power. Woodrow controlled the executive powers and trusted very few individuals. He refined the function of the president as the most powerful player in the role the Federal government. However other factors such as the personality of the presidents, role of other interests groups, parties, congress, events, and the mass action played a greater role in defining the role of federal government.
Work cited
Berman, D. (2003). Local Government and the States: Autonomy, Politics, and Policy. M.E. Sharpe.
Toole, L., & Christensen, R. (2012). American Intergovernmental Relations, 5th Edition. CQ Press.
Tushnet, M. (2009). The Constitution of the United States of America: a contextual analysis. New York: Hart Publishing Limited.
Prescott, E.C. 1999. “Some Observations on the Great Depression.” Federal Reserve of
Minneapolis Quarterly Review 23(1): 639–645.
Rauchway. E. 2008a. The Great Depression and the New Deal. New York: Oxford
———. 2008b. “Learning from the New Deal’s Mistakes.” The American Prospect,
December 22.
Reynolds, A. 2009. “Big Government, Big Recession.” Wall Street Journal, August 21.
Romer, C. 1992. “What Ended the Great Depression?” Journal of Economic History
52(4): 757–784

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