Notes 4:Continuing to Save a Nation - FDR’s 2nd New Deal Unit 2: The Great Depression Ms. Hamer March 11, 2011
The first Hundred Days brought about an improvement in the economy during FDR’s first two years in office, but the gains were not as much as had been expected. To improve on the situation, Roosevelt launched another group of programs to help those in need; this is often referred to as the SecondNew Deal or the Second Hundred Days. FDR’s goals were to help farmers and workers in need.
FDR’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, was a devoted activist who traveled the country, observed social conditions, and informed the president of the suffering in America. Her information and compassion frequently aided FDR in his decisions about improving the economy.
The Second New Deal was under way by the time of the 1936 presidential election. FDR won by an overwhelming victory and the Democrats also won majorities in both houses. This election was important because it marked the first time that most African Americans had voted Democratic rather than Republican. It also showed widespread support for Roosevelt’s New Deal policies.
Helping Farmers • In the mid-1930’s, two out of every five farms in the U.S. were mortgaged and thousands of small farmers lost their farms. The New Deal tried to help farmers with the AAA, but it had been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in early 1936.
Helping Farmers • The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act was passed to replace this. This act paid farmers for cutting production of soil-depleting crops (like cotton) and rewarded farmers for practicing soil conservation methods. In 1938, Congress approved a second AAA that simply removed the part found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (a federal tax to pay for farm subsidies).
Helping Farmers • There were many agricultural workers who were not farm owners and the Second New Deal tried to help them as well. The Farm Security Administration (FSA) loaned more than $1 billion to tenant farmers so that they could buy their own land. FSA Sharecropper
Helping Farmers • It also established camps for migrant workers who typically had terrible housing. The FSA also hired photographers, such as Dorothea Lange, to photo document rural towns, farms, and their inhabitants. Migrant Workers
Photos from FSA Pea Picking Camp by Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange
Relief Programs Grow • A large part of the Second New Deal were programs to help youths, professionals, and other workers. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was the largest of these. The WPA tried to create tons of jobs as quickly as possible. From 1935-1943, the WPA spent $11 billion to give jobs to more than 8 million workers, most of whom were unskilled.
Relief Programs Grow • These workers built 850 airports, constructed or repaired 651,000 miles of roads, and put up more than 125,000 public buildings. Women workers in sewing groups made 300 million garments for those in need. The WPA also employed many professionals who painted murals on public buildings, performed in acting troupes around the country, or even collected oral history slave narratives. Not only did the WPA give people work, but the results of it are of lasting value to America.
Relief Programs Grow • The National Youth Administration (NYA) provided student aid to high school, college, and graduate students. In return, the students worked at their schools part-time. These work-study programs allowed people to receive an education and job training; they also helped place the students in jobs once they completed the program.
Improving Labor and Other Reforms • In a 1935 speech, Roosevelt likened his reforms to curing a disease: “When a man is convalescing from an illness, wisdom dictates not only cure of the symptoms but also removal of their cause.” Under this theory, during the 2nd New Deal, Roosevelt created reform in the areas of labor relations and care for retired workers – these would remove the problem of unfair treatment of workers.
Improving Labor and Other Reforms • One of the first reforms of the 2nd New Deal was the Wagner Act which allowed workers to collectively bargain (form unions). The Wagner Act also prohibited anti-union activity by businesses such as: threatening workers, firing union members, and interfering with union organizing.
Improving Labor and Other Reforms In 1938 Congress finally passed the Fair Labor Standards Act which set labor laws to protect workers including: • Maximum hours were set at 44 per week and decreased to 40 hours a week after 2 years. • Minimum wage was set at 25 cents an hour; this would increase to 40 cents an hour by 1945. • Rules were set for the employment of those under the age of 16 and banned hazardous work for those under 18. These labor laws were the culmination of years of progressive activism to protect workers.
Social Security In 1935, the Social Security Act was established to care for the elderly and those with disabilities. This would provide a safety net for those who could no longer work. This act included: • Old age insurance for retired workers 65 or older and their spouses • Unemployment compensation for those who lost their job • Aid to families with dependent children and the disabled This Social Security system was not a complete pension or welfare system, but it did provide substantial aid to millions.
Expanding and Regulating Utilities • In 1935, only 12.6% of American farms had electricity. Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) which helped to bring electricity to isolated areas. By 1945, 48% of rural farms and home had electricity and that number rose to 90% by 1949.