The New Deal

Opponents of the New Deal

Many Americans supported Roosevelt some did not like the idea such as liberals, conservatives, and demagogues. Liberals criticized the Deal for doing too much for businesses and not enough for the unemployed and the working poor. They believed the president failed to address the needs of minorities. Conservatives attacked the New Deal for giving the federal government too much power with programs such as the WPA and labor laws like the Wagner Act. Conservative democrats formed an Anti-New Deal organization known as the American Liberty League in 1934 for the purpose of stopping the New Deal from "subverting" the United States political and economic system.
Opposition to the New Deal

Rise of Unions

Labor union membership rose from 3 million to 10 million from the early 1930s to 1941 due to the legalization of labor unions. Even though collective bargaining was protected by law, many companies still resisted union demands. This lead to frequent strikes throughout the decade. In 19338, congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act to put regulations on business in interstate commerce. This established:

  • A minimum wage
  • A maximum workweek of 40 hours and time and a half for overtime
  • Child-labor restrictions on those under the age of sixteen

The Labor Movement: The Rise of Unions

Last Phase of the New Deal

During Roosevelt's first term, the economy showed signs of pulling out of this economic nosedive. But in the winter of 1937 the economy once again had a downturn and entered a recession. The federal government was part of the blame due to the fact that the President's idea of balancing the budget failed. In1938 Roosevelt's popularity decreased and further New Deal reform legislation was blocked by a coalition of republicans and conservative democrats. Fears of Nazi Germany diverted attention from problems in the states to foreign affairs.
The New Deal for Dummies: FDR's Alphabet Agencies -- US History Review

Life During the Depression

Millions Americans during the the depression devolved a mentality of insecurity and and economic concern that would always remain, even in times of prosperity. During the depression women needed to seek work and their percentage of total labor increased. Many New Deal programs allowed women to receive lower wages than men. Farmers suffered a severe drought in the 1930s that ruined crops in the Great Plains. Novelist John Steinbeck wrote of these hardships in "The Grapes of Wrath". Racial discrimination continued in the 30s with detestation effects on African Americans. Their unemployment rate was higher than the national average. Despite the extreme property, blacks were excluded from state and local relief programs.
We Work Again (1937) | African-American Life during the Great Depression