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FDR & the New Deal: How Social Democrats Saved Capitalism

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Published on Feb 16, 2014

Disclaimer: The title is not suggesting capitalism deserved to be saved. FDR introduced a record number of pieces of legislation immediately after being elected during Great Depression. FDR signed the Emergency Banking Act and the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited the merger of commercial and investment banks in response to the 1933 bank panic. FDR also created the Civilian Conservation Corps which put 250,000 unemployed to work. FDR also signed into law new regulatory powers to the Federal Trade Commission and created the Security and Exchange Commission to regulate Wall Street. $3.3 billion dollars was appropriated to the Public Works Administration to stimulate the economy and create the largest government-owned industrial enterprise in American history -- the Tennessee Valley Authority which built dams and power stations, controlled floods, and modernized agriculture and home conditions in the poverty-stricken Tennessee Valley. FDR promised to repeal prohibition in his campaign for Pres, and he did, generating new tax revenue to help pay for increase in gov spending. In June 1933 Roosevelt restored $50 million in pension payments, and Congress added another $46 million more. After the 1934 Congressional elections, which gave Roosevelt large majorities in both houses, there was a fresh surge of New Deal legislation. These measures included the Works Progress Administration which set up a national relief agency that employed 2 million people. FDR signed the National Labor Relations Act which established for the first time in American history the rights of workers to organize unions and participate in strikes. At the height of WPA employment in 1938, unemployment was down from 20.6% in 1933 to only 12.5%. Total employment during Roosevelt's term expanded by an astonishing 18.31 million jobs! By 1944, FDR and the American people were so confident in his policies, he had the audacity to propose a Second Bill of Rights in his State Of The Union Address.

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