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Roosevelt and The New Deal Assignment

1.Study source A. Use source A and your own knowledge of the period to explain why people supported Roosevelt in the 1932 election.

Source A is taken from a moderately powerful speech, it insures people to have hope in him since that is exactly what he has promised. Whether this hope can be false is debatable, but from a extract form his speech ” no to win votes alone” it is quite clear that he’s not offering people hope only for the sole purpose of becoming president but also he is trying to “crusade to restore America”. Another aspect which has been promised to the people of America was that it would improve peoples standard of living, however this is a very hard promise to keep as it has been experienced that in the roaring 20’s not everyone’s life improved so why should they believe it now. But it became people’s perception that Roosevelt was a generally honest and caring individual. This surely helped in making people place trust in him.

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With such presidents as Calvin Coolidge it can be soon no wonder that after many years of right wing republican presidents that the majority of people wanted a democratic president. The ‘rugged individualism’ experienced had left millions unemployed and living in harsh poverty. This was a time where there was no welfare state to help the poor by giving benefits. Roosevelt believed in governmental interference to help people who couldn’t help them selves by doing this he gave many basic civil rights, which are experienced by every single rich person. So in that respect he may have influenced the poor people to vote for him. Where as with other groups it was harder to get their vote. One example were the blacks, having been freed from slavery under republican presidency the blacks always voted for republicans, so from this respect you can also see why some people didn’t support Roosevelt.

Roosevelt makes people know that he is dependent on them ” give me your help”. By saying this he makes it sound as if they are more important then he is by pleading for their support, it also makes him see reliant on the public, which in turn bought their trust.

People also supported Roosevelt because they hoped he could bring them his pledge of a ‘new deal’. They were sick of Hoover ‘s opinions of ‘rugged individualism’ and ‘laissez faire’. Roosevelt seemed to be a genuine and very strong candidate; he was a confident speaker and wasn’t afraid of saying what he thought unlike many other politicians who dodged around the real problems. In his speeches he used his words to great effect, he showed his intelligence and experience, which encouraged the support of the American people. For example he used alliteration, ‘destruction’, ‘delay’, ‘deceit’ and ‘despair’. He also linked his campaign to the idea of fighting, ‘call to arms’, ‘win’, ‘crusade’ and ‘waging war’, this encouraged the people to help him in his fight, it is their duty to fight for their country and fight against the great depression.

2.Study sources B and C. How do these judgements on the New Deal differ?

The first thing to notice is the distinguishment between both source B and C. Source B is a pro new deal source as it includes self confidence and also mentions the rebuilding of the country. Where as in Source C quite clearly states that Roosevelt is or will become a dictator; ‘The only result of this will be dictatorial government’. This historian holds the view that Congress has simply handed over much of its power and money to Roosevelt, which he has used ‘ruthlessly’. By the way in which source C is perceived it may have been a republican taking this opportunity to criticize democratic government.

Both sources C and B are complete contradictions as it states in Source B that Roosevelt is a dictator is ‘not true’. He believes that all power is still with the people, that they can still vote out the government at their own will, that they do have the power to choose their own leaders and that it won’t be taken away from them. Both vastly contradict each other making it harder and more difficult to say which opinion is correct. As you can see that elements of each may be correct as they both show aspects that reveal that Roosevelt didn’t succeed in giving confidence to the people of America.

The second main difference between the two sources is to do with the subject of unemployment and government relief. Source C claims that ‘one in every four people depends on employment by the government’. It draws on the fact that America has a national debt of $250 billion and there being an increasing number of citizens are relying on government relief. Source B on the other hand follows the belief that Roosevelt is helping the unemployment situation by banning child labour and introducing pensions. It praises Roosevelt and his policies whereas source C criticises him, inferring that America was in a more favourable situation before the arrival of Roosevelt and his attempts to regain America’s wealth.

Another difference between the two accounts of Roosevelt’s leadership involves the general morale of the American people during his time in power. Source B is confident that Roosevelt brought ‘excitement and hope’ to an America that was previously suffering from ‘depression and discouragement’ which existed before the change in 1933. Source C, however, held the opposing view, implying that Roosevelt himself was responsible for the increase in unemployment, taxes and debt. By 1938, unemployment reached 11 million and it was the war that rescued the ‘drowning man’. ‘By leading his country into war he was able to put every man and woman into work’. Source C is extremely dismissive of Roosevelt’s approach to governing America, suggesting that his policies to do with taxes and unemployment are inadequate, because his methods of solving problems only occur if they accompany negative consequences. It is apparent that source C didn’t offer any alternative resolutions to the problems.

As you can see from the both the sources that they are written at exactly the same time and have extremely contrasting views on the same issues present. The reasons for this could include the race or colour of the writer, as more things brought up helped raise the standard of living for white people and not black people. Also the difference in opinions could lie in the effectiveness of propaganda or perhaps the difference of living standards between that of the rich and poor and therefore raise issues such as bias.

3.Study source D. What message do you think this photographer was trying to give? Refer to the photograph and your own knowledge of the period to help you explain your answer.

Source D shows a photograph taken in 1937, it shows a queue of black people waiting for government relief and behind them is a large poster. This photograph is propaganda by Roosevelt to advertise ‘the American way’. The poster shows the, 2 children, happy family in their luxurious car and wealthy clothes, they seem happy and wealthy, they have the ‘world’s highest standard of living’. This poster is behind a line of black people lining up for government relief. The photographer is trying to capture the American dream in the flash. As is clear from the poster, it seems to be rubbing white supremacy into their faces as they look tired, weak and helpless.

I think that the photographer also wanted to capture how contrasting the American dream seems to be to two different colours of people. The poster reveals how all Americans can have the chance to be driving around in a car with smiles on their faces and smart clothes on. Unfortunately almost all blacks were stopped and prevented from having the best jobs in society, and were usually given the poor manual labour jobs, such as farming. By the looks upon the people none of them seem to be concentrating on the poster, this suggests that they’re plenty of posters like these every where to stop everyone from paying attention. Not only this but they might not be concentrating because of the humiliation caused from this poster, as it only meant that the blacks were segregated even more then before.

Roosevelt is concealing the fact that the Ku Klux Klan is still allowed to lynch people at their own will there are laws discriminating black people and they are segregated from whites in the armed forces and in public areas. Roosevelt even refused his own wife from introducing a law against lynching because he didn’t want to upset the politicians of the southern states. Roosevelt however wasn’t prepared to publicise this part of his leadership.

In conclusion this powerful photograph proves that America isn’t as rosy as it all appears on the surface. Although many people did benefit greatly from the New Deal, it didn’t improve the standard of living for most black people, it may have worked to some extent but this image just reminds us that we shouldn’t always believe exactly what we see or what we’re told, there is a great deal that is hidden away from the public.

4.Study sources E, F and G. Are these cartoons for or against Roosevelt? Explain your answer with reference to the cartoons.

In all of the sources it’s clear that E has a very negative opinion of how Roosevelt is going on trying to take America out of the depression. As is clear form source E Roosevelt is taking millions of billions from the tax payers money and from the illustration he is wasting it as he has not started the “pump to get the economy going”. In the caption the pump is personified as the new deal and how it’s insufficiency of getting the economy going has lead to the taxpayers suffering. This insufficiency is represented in the leaks found in the pump (new deal).

Also we can see that there is only a insignificant amount in the pump, even though there are billions going in. Also the position of the taxpayer in respects to Roosevelt show us how Roosevelt is higher in position and more important, where as this is in serious contradiction to source A as Roosevelt states ” give me your help”. This suggests that the people of America must be more important if he is begging and pleading. Another noticeable fact is the caption that comes from the mouth of Roosevelt ” I hope this will make er work”, this reflects on how badly planned the new deal is and how it wasn’t properly analysed or thought.

Source F however is for Roosevelt and the ‘New Deal’. It shows Roosevelt as a happy and strong man, chucking out the rubbish; this in itself is impossible, as Roosevelt was unable to walk properly without the aid of crutches since he had polio, but it is showing that Roosevelt was a powerful man without complete bodily strength. On the right of the cartoon is Herbert Hoover walking away from the White House with his briefcase and newspaper. Roosevelt has just come into power and is getting rid of all Hoover’s policies and ideas.

In the dustbin the cartoonist shows Hoover’s famous quotes such as ‘rugged individualism’ and ‘prosperity is just around the corner’. He also shows a punctured tyre and a dead chicken in a chicken pot to demonstrate how Hoover never put his words into action. He always said there should be a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage but this cartoon proves him wrong. The cartoonist is suggesting that Hoover’s strategies were ‘rubbish’ and they now deserve to be in a dustbin.

Source G shows Roosevelt as the doctor, Congress as a maid and ‘Uncle Sam’, representing America’s people, as the sick patient. Roosevelt is carrying a bag with ‘New Deal Remedies’ written on it, the cartoonist is showing that Roosevelt is trying to cure the patient with his ‘Remedies’ which are the ‘alphabet agencies’ shown as bottles of medicine. This cartoon demonstrates that although Roosevelt is trying to solve all America’s economic problems, the ‘New Deal’ still isn’t working. This can also suggest that Roosevelt is trying to accomplish too much in such a short amount of time. In the cartoon he is even admitting it himself ‘of course we may have to change remedies if we don’t get results’.

He has tried many things, many different bottles, but it still has no effect, the patient is still sick. On the bottles are acronyms of the many supposed solutions Roosevelt had such as the CCC, which gave food and camps to the unemployed. The cartoonist is also illustrating that Roosevelt has power over Congress; he has shown Roosevelt as a strong and powerful doctor that gives the orders to a timid, weak and frail nursemaid (the congress), which merely follows the doctor’s orders. To conclude, source G is against Roosevelt and the ‘New Deal’, it is stating that the ‘New Deal’ did no good, however hard Roosevelt tried. All the cartoonists have different opinions and show their views in different ways, each point of view is valid and the way it is told is very effective.

5. Study sources H and I. Which source is more useful as evidence about public opinion towards the New Deal? Explain your answer.

Source H is a letter to Roosevelt allegedly written by a couple and published by his supporters during his campaign in 1936. The letter shows affection towards Roosevelt, he is being included in their prayers, he helped them deal with a money problem and it even states that he retrieved their furniture for them. This however is only the view of one couple. We can’t be certain that it is true and it seems deeply biased. It is likely to be propaganda attempting to convince the public that Roosevelt is a good and honourable president; it might have even been completely made up to win him support and so given an image of Roosevelt as a cheat and a liar for trying to deceive the public with this letter.

Source H is an extract from a popular song of 1936; it isn’t propaganda, as it wasn’t written by the government. It is a reflection of many public opinions and includes statements on Roosevelt, ‘Since Roosevelt’s been re-elected, we’ll not be neglected’. It supports Roosevelt, the writer or indeed writers were ‘glad’ that Roosevelt won the election and was re-elected. On the other hand, this song is very vague as evidence; it doesn’t give details or elaborate on the public’s opinions on Roosevelt, it only mentions him in passing. Unlike the other source it seems vague and not specific on why exactly they fee; that way about president Roosevelt.

Overall I feel that both can be seen as not representing a public view but Source I seems more convincing coming from a song, rather then one letter from one couple out of thousands of millions. . Source H is most likely propaganda, but if it is genuine it is still only one view whereas Source I shows the views of many and it can’t possibly be false as it wouldn’t have become a popular song if people didn’t agree with the message it is telling.

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