Chapter 36 ~The Great Depression and the New Deal ~ 1933 – 1938
I. FDR: A Politician in a Wheelchair
In 1932, voters still had not seen any improvement, and wanted a new president.
President Herbert Hoover was nominated again without much vigor and true enthusiasm, and he campaigned
saying that his policies prevented the Great Depression from being worse than it was.
The Democrats nominated Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a tall, handsome man who was the fifth cousin of famous
Theodore Roosevelt and had followed in his footsteps.
FDR was suave and conciliatory while TR was pugnacious and confrontational.
FDR was stricken with polio in 1921, and during this time, his wife, Eleanor, became his political partner.
Eleanor was to become the most active First Lady ever.
iii. Franklin also lost a friend in 1932 when he and Al Smith both sought the Democratic nomination.
II. Presidential Hopefuls of 1932
In the campaign, Roosevelt seized the opportunity to prove that he was not an invalid, and his campaign also
featured an attack on Hoover’s spending (ironically, he would spend even more during his term).
The Democrats found expression in the airy tune “Happy Days Are Here Again,” and clearly, the Democrats had
the advantage in this race.
III. The Humiliation of Hoover in 1932
Hoover had been swept into the presidential office in 1928, but in 1932, he was swept out with equal force, as he
was defeated 472 to 59.
Noteworthy was the transition of Blacks from the Republican to the Democratic Party.
During the lame-duck period, Hoover tried to initiate some of Roosevelt’s plans but was met by stubbornness and
Hooverites would later accuse FDR of letting the depression worsen so that he could emerge an even more
IV. FDR and the Three R’s: Relief, Recovery, and Reform
On Inauguration Day, FDR asserted, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
He called for a nationwide banking holiday to eliminate paranoid bank withdrawals, and then commenced on his
The Democratic-controlled Congress was willing to do as FDR said, and the first 100 days of FDR’s
administration were filled with more legislative activity than ever before.
Many of the New Deal Reforms had been adopted by European nations a decade before.
V. Roosevelt Tackles Money and Banking
The Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933 as passed first.
Then, Roosevelt settled down for the first of his thirty famous “Fireside Chats.”
The “Hundred Days Congress” passed the Glass-Steagall Banking Reform Act, that provided the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation, which insured individual deposits up to $5000, thereby eliminating the epidemic of bank
failure and restoring faith to banks.