The letter says that a government man managed to persuade the bank to extend their loan and got their furniture back. The letter is very personal; it opens with ‘This is just to let you know that everything is alright now. ‘ And it seems that the writer has written to Roosevelt before as it says ‘You remember I wrote to you about losing the furniture. ‘ This makes Roosevelt seem friendly and it looks like Roosevelt has solved the problems the writer single-handedly, “I have never heard of a President like you”.
The writer of the letter seems to be in awe of Roosevelt and this is one of the possible reasons why the letter was used in Roosevelt’s 1936 election campaign. The author is an old man and shows this with ‘my wife and I are old folks and don’t amount to much. ‘ This makes Roosevelt look good because it shows he helps everyone, even an old couple who would be unimportant and insignificant. Source I is an excerpt from a popular song from 1936 election. The song is very positive and it is clear that the people who sung it supported Roosevelt.
The song is very upbeat, it opens with ‘Just hand me my old Martin’ which is a type of guitar which tells us that the singer is so happy that Roosevelt won that he wants to sing about it. The following line is ‘for soon I will be startin’ back to dear old Charleston far away. ‘ Charleston is a town in the South of the USA and the singer is saying that because Roosevelt has been re-elected he will be able to go and find work in Charleston.
The song then goes on to say ‘Since Roosevelt’s been re-elected, we’ll not be neglected, We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again. So it seems that the singer thinks that Roosevelt cares about the people and that he will do all he can to help them out of the Depression. ‘No more breadlines we’re glad to say, the donkey won the election day’ is the next line, the donkey is the Democratic party, of which Roosevelt was leader, so this line is saying that because Roosevelt and the Democrats won the election there will be no more unemployment for most people, the singer seems to believe that Roosevelt and his New Deal are successful and will get the economy of the country back on track and get everyone employed.
The closing lines of the song are ‘He’s got things in full sway, we’re all working and getting our pay, We’ve got Franklin D. Roosevelt back again. ‘ So the singer obviously believes that because of Roosevelt the country is on the way up and that the New Deal is working. The two sources are both very positive towards Roosevelt and the New Deal but they are not necessarily good indicators of what public opinion was like towards Roosevelt and the New Deal.
Source H is a letter from a member of the public so should be a good indicator of what the public thought, but this is not really true because this letter is the opinion of one person and therefore is not very reliable at indicating what public opinion is like because the rest of the American public may not agree with what the source says. Source I however is an excerpt from a popular song from 1936, so it is a better indicator of public opinion in this aspect because in order for it to be a popular song it would have been sung by a lot of people and people would only have sung the song if they agreed with it.
Also source H may have been biased, it was used in Roosevelt’s presidential campaign of 1936 and it would have been used because it was the letter that Roosevelt received that made him most favourable and would probably have not been the typical letter that Roosevelt would usually receive. Also there is the possibility that Roosevelt’s supporters created the letter especially for the campaign and that the man who supposedly wrote it did not exist and that the letter was a fake.
Source I however would be unbiased because Roosevelt would not be able to influence a popular song. This means that Source I is again the more reliable source because Source I is unbiased whereas there is the possibility that Source H is and also Source H is not a good indicator because it would be the most favourable and not the typical mail that Roosevelt received. The sources were written at different times, Source h was written before the 1936 presidential elections as it was used in Roosevelt’s campaign but Source I was sung after the elections in 1936.
This shows that Source I is a better indicator to public opinion about the New Deal because when Source H was written public opinion was probably for Roosevelt but it may not have been as Roosevelt had yet to be elected for a second term, however Source I was sung after the 1936 elections, which is a time that we know Roosevelt had support from the American people in because he won the election with a landslide victory so it was obvious that at this time public opinion was for the New Deal. Therefore I believe that Source I is a more reliable indicator of public opinion than Source H.