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© 2017, The Columbia University Press.

New Deal: Selected full-text books and articles

The Great Depression and the New Deal By Robert F. Himmelberg Greenwood Press, 2001
A Bad Deal Revisited By Hoar, William P The New American, Vol. 25, No. 4, February 16, 2009
Designing a New America: The Origins of New Deal Planning, 1890-1943 By Patrick D. Reagan University of Massachusetts Press, 2000
Toward a New Deal in Baltimore: People and Government in the Great Depression By Jo Ann E. Argersinger University of North Carolina Press, 1988
A Catholic New Deal: Religion and Reform in Depression Pittsburgh By Kenneth J. Heineman Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999
Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era By Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff University of North Carolina Press, 2009
The New Deal Constitution in Exile By Forbath, William E Duke Law Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, October 2001
Polls and Elections: The New Deal Realignment in Real Time By Norpoth, Helmut; Sidman, Andrew H.; Suong, Clara H Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 1, March 2013
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