The Great Depression and the New Deal
I. FDR: A Politician in a Wheelchair
In 1932, voters still had not seen any economic improvement, and they wanted a new
President Herbert Hoover was nominated again without much vigor andtrue enthusiasm,
and he campaigned saying that his policies preventedthe Great Depression from being
worse than it was.
The Democrats nominated Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a tall, handsomeman who was
the fifth cousin of famous Theodore Roosevelt and hadfollowed in his footsteps.
FDR was suave and conciliatory while TR was pugnacious and
FDR had been stricken with polio in 1921, and during this time, his wife,
Eleanor, became his political partner.
Franklin also lost a friend in 1932 when he and Al Smith both sought the
Eleanor was to become the most active First Lady ever.
II. Presidential Hopefuls of 1932
In the campaign, Roosevelt seized the opportunity to prove that hewas not an invalid,
and his campaign also featured an attack onHoover’s spending (ironically, he would
spend even more duringhis term).
The Democrats found expression in the airy tune “Happy DaysAre Here Again,” and
clearly, the Democrats had the advantage inthis race.
III. Hoover's Humiliation in 1932
Hoover had been swept into the presidential office in 1928, but in1932, he was swept out
with equal force, as he was defeated 472 to 59.
Noteworthy was the transition of the Black vote from the Republican to the Democratic
During the lame-duck period, Hoover tried to initiate some ofRoosevelt’s plans, but was
met by stubbornness and resistance.
Hooverites would later accuse FDR of letting the depression worsen so that he could
emerge as an even more shining savior.
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 bank holiday to eliminate paranoid bank withdrawals, and
then he commenced with his Three R’s.
The Democratic-controlled Congress was willing to do as FDR said,and the first Hundred
Days of FDR’s administration were filledwith more legislative activity than ever before.
Many of the New Deal Reforms had been adopted by European nations a
V. Roosevelt Manages the Money
The Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933 was passed first. FDRdeclared a one week
“bank holiday” just so everyone wouldcalm down and stop running on the banks.
Then, Roosevelt settled down for the first of his thirty famous “Fireside Chats” with