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History

The second New Deal

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With the election of 1936 looming and unemployment still a major problem Roosevelt introduced more radical policies in the second New Deal. He wanted to further reform America and improve people's lives.

1935-1936 New Deal

Although Roosevelt restored hope and staved off the collapse of the banking system, the problem of unemployment was more difficult and at the start of 1934 there was still 11.3 million people out of work. Some historians have said that failing to deal with unemployment was the biggest weakness of the New Deal. Criticism of Roosevelt emerged from several directions.

The second New Deal

With this criticism in mind and the 1936 presidential election on the horizon, the New Deal began to change direction. Some historians have interpreted the change by saying there were two New Deals - the first dealing with the immediate emergency of 1933-34 and the second, which emerged in 1935-1936, offering more radical, reforming policies:

  • The Works Progress Administration - this agency employed people to build schools, hospitals and other public buildings.
  • The Rural Electrification Administration - this agency aimed to bring electricity to America's farms.
  • The National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) - this act aimed to improve relations between workers and employers, especially as 1934 had seen a series of violent industrial disputes.

Some historians say that, where the first New Deal aimed to save America and its capitalist economic system, the second New Deal aimed to change America.

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