2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
2.1. Roosevelt's early life with regard to his political career
2.2 Why Franklin D. Roosevelt became President in 1933
2.3 The election of 1932
3. Rough Times: The Great Depression and the New Deal
3.1. The Great Depression and portrayal of the two ideologies "New Nationalism" and "New Freedom"
3.2. Roosevelt's first hundred days in office
3.3. The New Deal
3.4. Measures of Roosevelt's New Deal
3.5. Consequences of Roosevelt's New Deal
Between World War I and World War II the USA experienced a mixed development of their economy. On the one hand there was the economic prosperity in the 1920s and the epoch of reconstruction after 1933, as well known as the “New Deal.” But also very important to consider is the economic crisis, called the “Great Depression” between 1929 and 1935.
At the end of the 1920’s, there was an increase in prosperity in the United States. Especially this period was shaped by Jazz music, sports and technical breakthroughs. Also many Americans made money investments in stocks, and after the value of stocks rose steadily, a lot more people could afford the standard of good living, which contained to drive brand new and expensive cars and to attend movie theaters and sumptuous clubs.
When on Thursday, October 24, and on Tuesday, October 29 in 1929, the Wall Street stock market in New York collapsed, the “Roaring Twenties” were suddenly over within one week. Those two days are also called “Black Thursday” and “Black Tuesday”.
One month before, in September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high of 381.2 and on October 24, it was at 299.5 – that is a 21 percent fall of stock. The stock market crash was completed in 1932 and the stocks had lost nearly 90 percent of their value.
The Great Depression that was to last for a whole decade was not just about low stock prices. There were also banks which had to close and many people lost their money savings, their farms and homes, because they constituted a mortgage which they couldn’t pay. That caused layoffs, and because of that the people had to suffer from problems as hunger, illnesses, and poor living conditions.
President Hoover was a strong believer in no government intervention into the market, because he was afraid to destroy the people’s individualistic spirit. By 1932, 13 million Americans were unemployed, and Hoover was preaching about optimism and didn’t bring up plans to change the horrible situation. Thus he lost the people’s trust and they made him responsible for the Great Depression.
The very energetic Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was governor of New York since 1928, raised the Americans’ hope with his ability to be a great speaker and campaigner. There were 13,000,000 people unemployed in November 1932 and almost every bank was closed. With his proposal to bring recovery to business and agriculture in the first 100 days he gained faith in the people, and that is why he easily defeated Herbert Hoover with a percentage of 57. Hoover just reached 37 percent. On March 3, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt became President and died on April 12, 1945, when the economic system was stable again to a large extent. The first one hundred days of his presidency he presented 15 new laws as part of his New Deal-Program which were partially controversial. From this point on his political profile was clear. The first 15 laws were either reactions on short-term problems which occurred or realizations of ideas which he was thinking about for a longer term.
Now the question arises on how Franklin D. Roosevelt planned to lead the country as the new President of the United States out of this miserable depression. This paper will deal with Roosevelt’s attempt to operate with the Great Depression and with the introduction of his “New Deal” in 1933 and his “Second New Deal” in 1935.
First of all, I want to show how Franklin D. Roosevelt′s early life influenced and contributed to his political career. Then I will explain how Roosevelt became president in 1932. Lastly I will focus on the New Deal as a result of the depression, explaining certain New Deal laws and finally illustrate the laws’ consequences.
2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
2.1. Roosevelt’s early life with regard to his political career
If we have a look at Franklin D. Roosevelt’s life, it is obvious that his resolute character and his brilliant education had an effect on his later political career. On January 30, 1882, Franklin D. Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, New York as an only child of a wealthy American family who provided him with a happy childhood in which he was in their center of attention. Thus he was self-confident and had also confidence in the world. He admired Theodore Roosevelt, his fifth cousin and 26th President of the United States. He became Franklin’s hero and role model while he studied in Harvard and Theodore became President, and impressed his young cousin with his vigorous leadership style and his zeal being a president. He aroused the young boy’s interest in politics and told him stories, as he was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, about fights he was involved in against the corrupt police of New York. Because of his self-confidence, his admiration for Theodore Roosevelt and the upper class society he was introduced to by his parents convinced him and gave him great assistance to achieve the goal to become the President of the United States.
 McCartin, Joseph: “The New Deal Era”, in: The Oxford Companion to United States History. Oxford Refernce Online, Oxford 2001, p.1.
 Detlef Junker: Franklin D. Roosevelt. Macht und Vision: Präsident in Krisenzeiten. Göttingen: Muster-Schmidt Verlag, 1979, p. 10.
 Detlef Junker, op. cit., p. 14
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- The Great Depression Franklin D. Roosevelt The New Deal The election of 1932 New Nationalism New Freedom politics Wall Street stock market New York Black Thursday Black Tuesday Hoover American government economy law