The Presidency of FDR

Americans realized that they had an increasingly

great financial problem on their hands, and tried to correct it by

centralizing power. The President acquired so much power that the

nation almost became a communism, especially with Roosevelt\'s

introduction of the New Deal.

When Franklin Roosevelt became President of the United States

in 1933, the nation was in the depths of the worst depression it had

ever experienced. President Roosevelt, a very energetic and

enthusiastic person, inspired the people with his own confidence and

faith in the future. He gathered a group of people sharing his views

to help him, and provided food, clothing, and shelter for millions of

unemployed and poverty-stricken Americans. This was part of what he

called the New Deal, of which his three objectives were relief,

recovery, and reform for American citizens. In another attempt at

recovery, Congress attempted to revive the nation\'s agriculture and

industry and place the economy on a solid foundation. They printed

extra money to loan to industries that quickly paid it back. By 1933

nearly 14 million Americans were jobless. In response, the Roosevelt

administration immediately launched what seemed at the time to be a

wonderful program of direct relief. In 2 years, federal agencies

distributed 3 billion dollars to the states. However, the people

unemployed wanted jobs, not welfare, thus the Works Progress

Administration (WPA) came into existence. This helped restore some of

the lost jobs.

By 1936, the New Deal program faced a large and growing body

of opposition, some from within the Democratic Party itself. Many

critics felt that the government was interfering too much with the

free enterprise system, and in doing so, was threatening individualism

and democracy. This absorption of power by the president is what is

known as the Imperial Presidency. By the end of 1938, the opposition

had become so strong that President Roosevelt decided to postpone

other large reforms he had been considering.

Innumerable committees were created to deal with the problems

of the time, and the President was in control of all of them. All

this power that the President acquired caused the executive branch to

become bloated. World War II also prompted the government to recruit

many, many Americans into the army. Since the President has complete

control over the army, a greater army gave him more power. The

president also had control over the federal police. However, with all

the manufacturing that had to take place to accommodate for all the

necessities of war, many new ideas came into action. In order to boost

the economy, power was readily and radically centralized, and the

government introduced the policies of cost plus, resource allocation,

wage & price controls, and prohibition of strikes. Cost plus and

resource allocation gave the government much power to control

industries. The government would withhold certain raw materials from

companies unless they were using them to make war utilities. However,

if they did choose to agree with the government, they could set the

prices for their products and make extra money. Wage and price

controls were another method of the government to boost industry.

The government would increase the price for which a manufacturer must

sell his goods and the minimum wages allowable for different types of
workers. This made everyone happy because the only person suffering this way was

Category: History