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US History

Great Depression 

  (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute)

Financial Literacy

Cultural History



The Great Depression

FDR was elected with his program of the New Deal.  The New Deal promised:

1)    Government control/restraint of industry

2)    Government promotion of business interests

3)    Government promotion of interests of labor and lower classes.

    The first thing he did was to introduce banking legislation.  The banks were closed and the FDIC was established.  This would regulate banks and federally insure banks.  Businessmen run the FDIC.

    The National Recovery Administration (NRA) regulates industry though a government board with representatives of government/labor and business.  Businessmen did not appreciate the government involvement and brought the program before the Supreme Court which declared it unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court did not approve many of the programs of the New Deal, to the point where FDR tried to introduce legislation that would allow the president to add a new justice for any that had attained the age of 75.  While it didn't pass, the Supreme Court did not declare the next act unconstitutional.

    Agriculture Adjustment Act   (AAA) - designed to raise prices of agriculture through the subsidized land.  It favored large farmers who had more land and equipment.  They could produce more on less land and subsidize the farmer for not growing on all the acreage.

    Other programs include:

        Civilian Conservation Corp. (CCC)

        Civil Works Administration (CWA)

        Works Progress Administration (WPA),

        Public Works Administration (PWA)

        Rural Electrification Act (REA)

        Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)


Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) - low interest rates and a longer period to pay.


Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-     Insured banks against losses of loans for repair and rebuilding.  Most could still not take advantage of it.


Three out of the 10 million unemployed were helped by these agencies.  They provided temporary relief and service.


The Social Security Act of 1935 included

    -    Old Age Pension

    -    Welfare to the Handicapped

    -    Unemployment Insurance


The SEC was developed to protect investors in the stock market.



Corporate liberalism passing to government to be responsible for social welfare.  They did not do much to stimulate economic recovery.




    National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

        -    determined which union had the right to negotiate

    -    arbitration board

    -    settled more than 4/5 of the 3766 disputes and avoided 500 strikes.


1937     Fair Labor Standards Act - work week 44 hours.

1938    Work Week reduced to 40 hours, and a minimum wage scale


Fair Employment Practices Act

    -    counteract racial discrimination in industries with contracts with government.

    -    deficit spending - government spending more than it had.


Wagner Act - guaranteed right of labor to organize, bargain collectively and engage in concerted activities for mutual aid.


1937-1938 Recession measures adopted stopped further economic crisis.


Lewis establishes the CIO under the AFL  (Committee for the Industrial Organization) for unskilled labor.  CIO encouraged the inclusion of blacks.  CIO expelled from AFL and became the Congress of Industrial Organizations.  In 1940 it's membership was 3.6 million.


Sit down strikes were tried but declared illegal in 1939.




1936-1937 - Recession


Roosevelt changed in order to preserve.  There was a desire to publicly regulate the system.  It improved the corporate image.  Corporate liberalism became an important part of the system.  Strikes accomplished a lot, stimulated but did not control situation--more rhetoric than progress.  Employers gave enough to pacify, but not enough to change.