Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!


The New Deal

'In Hoover we trusted, now we are busted!' Needless to say, Hoover lost the 1932 election due to widespread poverty and was replaced by the Democratic leader, Franklin D Roosevelt, who aimed to tackle the Depression.


The Presidential election campaign of November 1932 took place against the backdrop of the most severe economic depression [Economic depression: The slowing of economic activity, which usually results in high unemployment, a sharp drop in prices and a fall in production. ] in American history. While Republican President Herbert Hoover was personally blamed for failing to deal with the consequences of the Wall Street Crash of October 1929, the Democratic candidate, Franklin D Roosevelt promised, "A new deal for the American people."

Photo of Roosevelt

Roosevelt promised Americans a New Deal

Following a landslide election victory, Roosevelt faced the enormous task of restoring confidence in a shattered economy. At first glance, Roosevelt's privileged background might have made it difficult for him to understand the problems faced by those who were unemployed or poverty stricken. However, in 1921 an attack of polio had left Roosevelt permanently crippled, and his ongoing battle against this terrible illness enhanced his ability to relate to ordinary Americans.

As he entered the White House, the scale of the problem he faced was immense. By the winter of 1932-1933, the country seemed to have reached rock bottom. Roosevelt's personal solution, the New Deal was the largest, most expensive government programme in the history of the American presidency. However, historians do not necessarily agree as to whether the New Deal was a success or a failure.

Back to USA 1919 - 1941 index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.