New Deal


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New Deal

New Deal, in U.S. history, term for the domestic reform program of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; it was first used by Roosevelt in his speech accepting the Democratic party nomination for President in 1932. The New Deal is generally considered to have consisted of two phases.

The first phase (1933–34) attempted to provide recovery and relief from the Great Depression through programs of agricultural and business regulation, inflation, price stabilization, and public works. Meeting (1933) in special session, Congress established numerous emergency organizations, notably the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Public Works Administration. Congress also instituted farm relief, tightened banking and finance regulations, and founded the Tennessee Valley Authority. Later Democratic Congresses devoted themselves to expanding and modifying these laws. In 1934, Congress founded the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission and passed the Trade Agreements Act, the National Housing Act, and various currency acts.

The second phase of the New Deal (1935–41), while continuing with relief and recovery measures, provided for social and economic legislation to benefit the mass of working people. The social security system was established in 1935, the year the National Youth Administration and Work Projects Administration were set up. The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938. The Revenue Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937 provided measures to democratize the federal tax structure. A number of New Deal measures were invalidated by the Supreme Court, however; in 1935 the NRA was struck down and the following year the AAA was invalidated. The President unsuccessfully sought to reorganize the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, other laws were substituted for legislation that had been declared unconstitutional.

The New Deal, which had received the endorsement of agrarian, liberal, and labor groups, met with increasing criticism. The speed of reform slackened after 1937, and there was growing Republican opposition to the huge public spending, high taxes, and centralization of power in the executive branch of government; within the Democratic party itself there was strong disapproval from the “old guard” and from disgruntled members of the Brain Trust. As the prospect of war in Europe increased, the emphasis of government shifted to foreign affairs. There was little retreat from reform, however; at the end of World War II, most of the New Deal legislation was still intact, and it remains the foundation for American social policy.

Bibliography

See B. Rauch, History of the New Deal 1933–1938 (1944); A. Schlesinger, Jr., The Coming of the New Deal (1959) and The Politics of Upheaval (1960); M. Keller, ed., The New Deal: What Was It? (1963); R. Eden, ed., The New Deal and Its Legacy (1989); W. E. Leuchtenburg, The Supreme Court Reborn (1995); G. E. White, The Constitution and the New Deal (2001); A. L. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s (2004); A. Cohen, Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America (2009); I. Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (2013).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

New Deal

 

a system of measures undertaken by the US government between 1933 and 1938 to mitigate the contradictions of American capitalism, which had been aggravated as a result of the economic crisis of 1929–33. The New Deal is associated with President F. D. Roosevelt.

During the first period of the New Deal (1933–34) laws advantageous to large-scale employers were passed. The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which was passed in 1933, provided for the introduction into various branches of industry of “codes of fair competition,” which fixed production costs and levels of output and allocated market areas. Basically, the codes supported the largest monopolies at the expense of small and middle-level employers. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), which was passed in 1933, was designed to raise prices for farm products by paying monetary compensation to farmers who reduced sown areas and livestock herds. These and subsequent New Deal economic measures directed at state regulation of the economy constituted an important stage in the development of state-monopoly capitalism in the USA.

A number of laws were passed during the second period of the New Deal (1935–38), a time marked by the growth of the working-class and democratic movements: Among those passed in 1935 were the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act), which reinforced NIRA provisions concerning the right of workers to organize trade unions and conclude collective agreements, and the law providing for social security and for aid to the unemployed, the first such law in the history of the USA. The Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) established minimum wages and the maximum length of the workday for certain categories of workers.

The labor and social laws of the New Deal expressed the government’s aim to deaden the class struggle and weaken the workers’ and mass democratic movement. Through their struggle to expand the framework of bourgeois democracy, the toiling masses forced the ruling circles of the USA to undertake reforms and compromises.

REFERENCE

Mal’kov, V. L. “Novyi kurs” ν SShA: Sotsial’nye dvizheniia isotsial’naia politika. Moscow, 1973.

D. G. NADZHAFOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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