Financial History of the United States: Fiscal, Monetary, Banking, and Tariff, Including Financial Administration and State and Local Finance

By Paul Studenski; Herman E. Krooss | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 28:
THE NEW DEAL: MONETARY, BANKING, AND TARIFF POLICIES

The New Deal covered a period of over seven years, from March, 1933, to June, 1940, when the commencement of war preparations lifted the economy out of its subnormal state, terminated all government concerns with recovery, and ended social and economic reforms for the time being.

The New Deal was not so much a revolution as the culmination of trends long in the process of development, for in its early phases, at least, it continued on a broader scale the antidepression policies inaugurated by Hoover. It strove for economy and a balanced budget, proceeded with plans for government reorganization, expanded the credit agencies inherited from the Hoover administration, and reformed the banking system along the lines of the Glass bill which had been unsuccessfully introduced long before. New departures were made in the TVA, NRA, AAA, and SEC. However, the Hoover administration had started the construction of the Boulder Dam, and just before it left office it was making attempts to cut farm acreage and was considering proposals to control the securities markets.

The economic difficulties which changed the course of the Hoover administration and caused it to enter into broader fields than were originally contemplated continued to be felt in the Roosevelt administration with the result that there was not one New Deal, but two or even three. Action was continually improvised. No hard-and-fast program or consistent strategy or abstract philosophy ever gained the upper hand. The first New Deal, March, 1933, to mid-1935, emphasized recovery more than reform. The dominant goal was to increase prices. Under the influence of Moley and, to a lesser extent, Berle, Baruch, Tugwell, Wallace, Hugh Johnson, and others, attempts at "economic planning," such as the NRA and the AAA, were made. But above all, the emphasis was on monetary techniques--the abandonment of the gold standard, the Warren gold-buying program, and the devaluation of the dollar. All these programs assumed that the American depression was domestic in nature, and they were pursued regardless of their adverse international implications.

The second New Deal, mid- 1935 to the depression of 1937, shifted the emphasis from recovery to social and economic reform. It catered particularly to labor and antagonized most of the business group. It

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