Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal saved the country from financial ruin and laid the foundation of modern America. FDR was President for 12 years. The New Deal lasted half of that. Yet the institutions he created functioned so well they built a generation of prosperity. Despite fierce opposition, the New Deal coalition formed a government that worked for people and an industrial economy that prioritized competition and innovation over vested interests.
Shockingly, little is known about the individual New Deal programs themselves. How they became law. The impact they have on today’s world. How many were ultimately destroyed. This podcast looks to change that.
The Build Up to the New Deal
The New Deal began in 1933—a few months after FDR was elected President of the United States. During that time the country was in the depths of the Great Depression. National unemployment levels reached 25%. In addition, the largest cities had just seen a nine-month span where unemployment increased by 149%. Despite the economic chaos, the previous Republican administration believed large scale government assistance would interfere with the laws of the free market and delay recovery. “While they (talk) of economic laws,” FDR told the nation as he accepted the Democratic Presidential nomination in Fall of 1932, “men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.”
Certainly, something had to be done. FDR would do it.
Accounting for all the impacts of the New Deal is impossible. For instance, it replaced oil lamps with light bulbs. It built 43,000 schools, post offices, and enough public highways to cross America over 230 times. The New Deal created Social Security, minimum wage, time and half overtime! Most of all, a political coalition that controlled Congress until 1996!
Therefore, each season will cover a handful of programs and topics. How it happened and how it impacts today.
Season 1 will include:
- How the Agricultural Adjustment Act saved American farming
- How Henry A. Wallace built the US Department of Agriculture into one of the most innovative organizations in the history of the world
- How Frances Perkins, the first female cabinet member, established Social Security and revolutionized America
- How former President Herbert Hoover tried to sabotage the New Deal and FDR’s response