New Deal

New Deal, in U.S. history, term for the domestic reform program of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; it was first used by Roosevelt in his speech accepting the Democratic party nomination for President in 1932. The New Deal is generally considered to have consisted of two phases.

The first phase (1933–34) attempted to provide recovery and relief from the Great Depression through programs of agricultural and business regulation, inflation, price stabilization, and public works. Meeting (1933) in special session, Congress established numerous emergency organizations, notably the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Public Works Administration. Congress also instituted farm relief, tightened banking and finance regulations, and founded the Tennessee Valley Authority. Later Democratic Congresses devoted themselves to expanding and modifying these laws. In 1934, Congress founded the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission and passed the Trade Agreements Act, the National Housing Act, and various currency acts.

The second phase of the New Deal (1935–41), while continuing with relief and recovery measures, provided for social and economic legislation to benefit the mass of working people. The social security system was established in 1935, the year the National Youth Administration and Work Projects Administration were set up. The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938. The Revenue Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937 provided measures to democratize the federal tax structure. A number of New Deal measures were invalidated by the Supreme Court, however; in 1935 the NRA was struck down and the following year the AAA was invalidated. The President unsuccessfully sought to reorganize the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, other laws were substituted for legislation that had been declared unconstitutional.

The New Deal, which had received the endorsement of agrarian, liberal, and labor groups, met with increasing criticism. The speed of reform slackened after 1937, and there was growing Republican opposition to the huge public spending, high taxes, and centralization of power in the executive branch of government; within the Democratic party itself there was strong disapproval from the "old guard" and from disgruntled members of the Brain Trust. As the prospect of war in Europe increased, the emphasis of government shifted to foreign affairs. There was little retreat from reform, however; at the end of World War II, most of the New Deal legislation was still intact, and it remains the foundation for American social policy.

See B. Rauch, History of the New Deal 1933–1938 (1944); A. Schlesinger, Jr., The Coming of the New Deal (1959) and The Politics of Upheaval (1960); M. Keller, ed., The New Deal: What Was It? (1963); R. Eden, ed., The New Deal and Its Legacy (1989); W. E. Leuchtenburg, The Supreme Court Reborn (1995); G. E. White, The Constitution and the New Deal (2001); A. L. Hamby, For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s (2004); A. Cohen, Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America (2009); I. Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (2013).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Great Depression and the New Deal
Robert F. Himmelberg.
Greenwood Press, 2001
The New Deal: The National Level
John Braeman; Robert H. Bremner; David Brody.
Ohio State University Press, 1975
The Achievement of American Liberalism: The New Deal and Its Legacies
William H. Chafe.
Columbia University Press, 2003
The New Deal and Its Legacy: Critique and Reappraisal
Robert Eden.
Greenwood Press, 1989
Economics in the Long Run: New Deal Theorists and Their Legacies, 1933-1993
Theodore Rosenof.
University of North Carolina Press, 1997
The Critical Press and the New Deal: The Press Versus Presidential Power, 1933-1938
Gary Dean Best.
Praeger Publishers, 1993
Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era
Patricia Sullivan.
University of North Carolina Press, 1996
Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933-1938
Gary Dean Best.
Praeger Publishers, 1991
Designing a New America: The Origins of New Deal Planning, 1890-1943
Patrick D. Reagan.
University of Massachusetts Press, 2000
Ideologies and Utopias: The Impact of the New Deal on American Thought
Arthur A. Ekirch Jr.
Quadrangle Books, 1971
The American Banking Community and New Deal Banking Reforms, 1933-1935
Helen M. Burns.
Greenwood Press, 1974
The New Deal and the South: Essays
Frank Freidel; Pete Daniel; J. Wayne Flynt; Alan Brinkley; Harvard Sitkoff; Numan V. Bartley; James C. Cobb; Michael V. Namorato.
University Press of Mississippi, 1984
Toward a New Deal in Baltimore: People and Government in the Great Depression
Jo Ann E. Argersinger.
University of North Carolina Press, 1988
Conservative Constraints: North Carolina and the New Deal
Douglas Carl Abrams.
University Press of Mississippi, 1992
A Catholic New Deal: Religion and Reform in Depression Pittsburgh
Kenneth J. Heineman.
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999
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