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Franklin Roosevelt is the 32nd president of the United States. He has served since March 1933 and died in April 1945. He is the first president of the United States who took office for four terms. During his tenure, in order to deal with the economic crisis of the 1930s, he carried out a series of reforms on internal and external policies, known as the “Roosevelt New Deal,” which had a far-reaching impact on US internal affairs and diplomacy. There have been many lasting changes in economic relations with the country due to the establishment of the new deal. Roosevelt was also a decision-maker of the US government during World War II. His entire political activities had a tremendous impact on the United States and international politics as well. For Roosevelt’s New Deal, there have always been various evaluations and different reputations. Some praise it as a “peaceful revolution” or even as “socialist slogans,” which claims that he had realized the principles of a socialist planned economy, if all implemented, will be able to eliminate the oligarchic financial system.
On the other hand, some of them are an anesthetic against the proletariat. They believe that the “New Deal” will achieve the purpose of paralyzing the proletariat’s resistance and relaxing the proletarian struggle with the least unemployment benefits, and believe that the main purpose of the “New Deal” is to prevent farmers and workers from participating in revolutionary actions. Based the following documents, Roosevelt’s new deal has helped the US to recover from the great depression, enlarged the power of the government and helped to improve some flaws within the capitalist economy in the US.
Roosevelt was an essential figure in the modern history of the United States. The Roosevelt New Deal had a profound impact on the development of American social history. The evaluation of the “New Deal” should also see whether it has developed the productivity of the United States. Lesueur’s article in New masses publishment claims that many men and women were living in poverty even in 1932 (Lesueur). Judging from the implementation of the “New Deal,” it made the United States reluctantly survive the special depression of 1933-1937 and the economic crisis of 1937, which brought the US economy that collapsed to a certain degree of recovery. In William Garrison’s article claim that “The New Deal, being both a philosophy and a mode of action, began to find expression in diverse forms which were often contradictory” (Garrison). Before the Second World War, the US’s economy was fully recovered to a degree close to the level of 1929 (Cole 780). This created the necessary material conditions for the United States to participate in the world anti-fascist war and achieve victory in this war. During the Second World War, the United States became a “democratic ammunition depot” and played a certain role in the victory of the anti-fascist war. This is inseparable from the economic effects of the Roosevelt New Deal (Brinkley 12). From a political point of view, due to the “New Deal” Implementation has enabled the United States to avoid directing the path of fascism as NBC radio’s broadcast claims, the US government granted the people the chance to recover from the economic crisis instead of huge political parties (NBC Radio). In the five weeks, Roosevelt came to power, Hitler seized power in Germany, and even some other European countries are starting on the road of fascism.
In the United States at the time, a part of the big monopoly bourgeoisie was purely moving. The 1940 article “the New deal in review” claim that “The government as an instrument of democratic action in the future has also been strengthened and renovated” (The New Deal in Review). It was only because of the implementation of the “New Deal” that the United States finally avoided this mud pit. Also, the “New Deal” has some attempts in regulating labor relations, expanding the democratic rights of the masses, implementing social welfare states, ensuring a minimum standard of living, and reducing racial discrimination. Some social reform measures, such as the “Social Insurance Regulations,” The Wagner Act, the Agricultural Plan, the Tennessee Engineering Management Committee, and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been recognized as permanent functions of the federal government, thereby strengthening the role of the government in economic life (Franklin). Roosevelt and the New Deal in the development of productivity and ease of avoiding fascist aspects of the basic contradiction of capitalism are undoubtedly given the role of progress (Derber). Roosevelt’s New Deal used state power to reform the capitalist relations of production to a certain extent, thus providing a new room for the development of productive forces, and then letting the United States out of the dead end of the economic depression after 1929, causing the United States to succumb to The collapsed economy has recovered to some extent (A monthly check to you). The US monopoly bourgeoisie hopes to get rid of the crisis based on private capitalism without changing the economic base. They strive to minimize the damage and losses incurred by the existing economic system. Through the implementation of the Roosevelt New Deal, the Americans partially achieved its goal. Stalin praises Roosevelt for being the “middle all the princes of the modern capitalist world, the most powerful of a character” and his comment is very appropriate for what Roosevelt had done for the nation (Schlesinger 21). The Roosevelt New Deal was an invigorating agent to save the dying capitalist system, but it was not a panacea for the resurrection (Hawley 90). As the Roosevelt record claims “most important contribution of the Roosevelt administration to the age-old color line problem in America has been its doctrine that Negroes are a part of the country and must be considered in any program for the country as a whole” (The Roosevelt Record). The “New Deal” attempted to make up for “capitalism.” So the US economy has not recovered to the level of 29 years before the second war. The New Deal can only be tinkering and cannot be rejuvenated. As Charles Hughes in his report claims that, “The question of chief importance relates to the provision of the codes to the hours and wages of those employed” (Hughes) which means that though Roosevelt has done a great job to address the economic issue, the fundamental problem of capitalism is still unsolved. However, the second world war has brought about a deformed development of the US economy and a temporary boom.
Some bourgeois scholars regard the New Deal as a socialist planned economy, or as Roosevelt himself said is a “peaceful revolution.” In the poster named The Evening Star published in 1934, this poster portrait Roosevelt was in a standing position claiming that the evolution is not revolution however is categorized as a view of being ridiculous to some extent (The Evening Star). In his conversation with the British writer Wells, Stalin pointed out that the Roosevelt New Deal is not a socialist measure at all. If it is “socialism,” then this “socialism” is in the best of circumstances. In the Letter to Senator Robert Wagner, he claims that “It seems very apparent to me that the Administration at Washington is accelerating it is [sic] pace towards socialism and communism” (Letter to Senator Robert Wagner). What the perception means is that some suppression of individual representatives who are the most unstoppable of capitalist profits, and some enhancements to the principle of national economic adjustment. All these restraints and adjustments can only be made without the principle of the economic foundation of capitalism. Otherwise, it will be completely defeated. The reason is straightforward. If Roosevelt wants to pick up socialism and carry out a real revolution in the relationship of production, he will be opposed by the monopoly of the bourgeoisie (Hawley 91). As Stalin said: “If Roosevelt attempts to sacrifice the interests of the bourgeoisie to satisfy the interests of the proletariat truly, then the bourgeoisie will replace him with another president” (Fishback 242). In a capitalist society, a state is only a tool for the entire bourgeoisie. However, its function is to organize a national defense, maintain “order” and levy taxes (Badger 244). The real economy is not in the hands of the capitalist countries; on the contrary, the state is in the hands of the capitalist class, and the president is nothing but the big steward of this class.
Moreover, Roosevelt himself is a millionaire (Sklaroff 3). Therefore, no matter how high his energy is, he cannot achieve the goal of socialism, let alone a “life.” It can only be an improvement within the scope of capitalism.
In short, the Roosevelt New Deal can neither be over-acclaimed nor over-depreciated. It is a more effective bourgeois reform and plays a specific progressive role in American history. Roosevelt is called a contemporary bourgeois leader, and a visionary politician is more practical.
- William Lloyd Garrison, Jr., “The Hand of Improvidence,” The Nation, November 14, 1934.
- “A monthly check to you.” Photo Division, Library of Congress, 1935.
- Charles Evans Hughes, majority opinion, Schechter v. United States, 1935.
- Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Coming of the New Deal: 1933-1935, The Age of Roosevelt. Vol. 2 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003.
- Franklin, D. “Roosevelt.” The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1 (1941): 1938-1950.
- Cole, Harold L., and Lee E. Ohanian. “New Deal policies and the persistence of the Great Depression: A general equilibrium analysis.” Journal of political Economy 112.4 (2004): 779-816.
- Brinkley, Alan. The end of reform: New Deal liberalism in recession and war. Vintage, 1996.
- Sklaroff, Lauren Rebecca. Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era. Univ of North Carolina Press, 2009.
- Derber, Milton, and Edwin Young, eds. Labor and the New Deal. University of Wisconsin Press, 1957.
- Badger, Anthony J. The New Deal: Depression Years, 1933-40. Macmillan International Higher Education, 1987.
- Fishback, Price V. “New Deal.” Banking Crises. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2016. 241-250.
- Hawley, Ellis Wayne. The New Deal and the problem of monopoly. Princeton University Press, 2015.
- “The evening star” April 26, 1834.
- Lesueur, Meridel “New Masses Publishment”. January, 1932.
- Letter to Senator Robert Wagner, March 7, 1934.
- NBC radio broadcast, John L. Lewis, December 13, 1936.
- “The Roosevelt Record,” editorial in The Crisis, November 1940.
- “The New Deal in Review” editorial in The New Republic, May 20, 1940.
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