American Federal Government’s changing role between 1919 and 1942
From 1919 to 1942, American Federal Government’s changing role can be demonstrated by the degree of government intervention towards economy and the welfare of the nation. President Hoover and his stand with the rugged individualism and government’s policy of laissez faire would not provide direct government aid to individuals as well as companies, even in the times of stock market collapse contributing to the Great Depression. Whereas, President Roosevelt instituted completely the opposite role of government as compared to Hoover, that included a high degree of government intervention in the economy and the welfare of the nation. Therefore, during this time phase, the degree of government intervention increased gradually, and took its elevation towards the highest level that federalized most of the industries and represented the beginning of the welfare state.
President Wilson established the Federal Reserve and Federal Trade Commission, as well as, helped America to have a neutral position during the World War I with a plan for the League of Nations (Woodrow Wilson). The national policy of Prohibition also began in his era. President Harding favored pro-business policies and limited immigration (Warren G. Harding). President Coolidge also favored pro-business policies that included tax cuts and limited government spending (Calvin Coolidge). President Hoover provided additional help to farmers who were facing mortgage foreclosures, banking reforms, expansion of public works etc. but, with his stand of rugged individualism and his inclination towards the government’s policy of laissez faire, he couldn’t take the American people out of the economy of depression (Herbert Hoover).
In 1932, when FDR was elected president, the nation was undergoing massive unemployment of 13,000,000 with almost every banks closed, and, therefore, the nation desperately needed a strong support from the government to uplift the economic depression (Franklin D. Roosevelt). The liberal consensus historians from 1940s – 1960s viewed, “the new deal” that consisted of relief, recovery and reform changed the role of the federal government in American way of life. The relief by FDR was initiated by Bank Holiday, Emergency Banking Act, Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA), Civil Works Administration (CWA), and, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The recovery process included Agriculture Adjustment Act (AAA), National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), Home Owners Loan Corp., Works Progress Administration (WPA), and, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The reform, to avoid another depression was carried out by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Social Security Administration, National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board (NLRA/NLRB), and, Soil Conservation Act.
Therefore, the role of American Federal Government increased exponentially towards its citizens, and the Government could legally regulate the economy with the reforms of FDR (Franklin D. Roosevelt). He also inbuilt the “good neighbor” policy, keeping United States out of the war in Europe as well as contributed to the planning of a United Nations where he hoped to sort out the international difficulties (Franklin D. Roosevelt). Overall, the government involvement in economy and the welfare of the nation increased to the level that was never instituted in the history of United States of America.
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