Eric Foner’s book, Give Me Liberty,on The New Deal
The New Deal was a sequence of domestic U.S. programs between 1932 and 1938 as a government response to the Great Depression. The Depression had driven millions of people out of work, eroded their savings, and entrenched poverty in the U.S. society. The Deal featured the philosophy that strengthened regulation would offer solutions to the prevalent socioeconomic problems. Focusing on the 3Rs, relief (assistance for the jobless and poor), reform (remodeling of the financial system to build economic resistance), and recovery (reclamation of the economy towards growth), the Deal expanded the government and president’s powers. The first phase focused on tackling the banking and financial mechanisms that had precipitated the crisis. It also featured establishment of a relief administration targeting states and cities and ratification of an Act to prevent a stock market crash. The second phase involved the strengthening of labor unions, increased provision of employment by the government, a social security scheme, and help for migrants and farmers (Foner 862-864).
This assessment implies that the Deal itself provided employment for millions and sponsored extensive public works and projects across the nation, while financial protection structures ended the trend of bank runs. It enabled clearer definition of abuses of the stock market, emergence of a powerful workers’ union, enforcement of social welfare schemes for the destitute and underprivileged, and modification of the social security system (Foner 861-863). Although the Deal did not achieve the primary objective of ending the Depression, considering that the rate of unemployment was still high (15%) at the end of the 1930s, it enhanced the U.S. economy’s robustness and capacity to withstand future economic crises. The Deal’s fundamental achievements were durable because it inspired Americans’ socioeconomic resolve and activities. It restored faith in democracy and enhanced the government’s role as an institution with direct experience in citizens’ daily lives and wellbeing (Foner 898).
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History, Third Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.