The Last New Deal Reforms (10-3 b)

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In his second inaugural speech, Roosevelt had pointed out that despite the nation’s progress in climbing out of the , many Americans still endured crippling poverty:

“In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens- a substantial part of its whole -who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of . . . . I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. . . . The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too .” -quoted in Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Despite the president’s idealistic goals, the fight over the court-packing scheme and the recession of 1937 had weakened Roosevelt politically. Although he pushed ahead with a new series of programs, his successes were limited.

The National Housing Act

One of the president’s goals for his second term was to provide better housing for the nation’s poor. The Home Owners Loan Corporation had helped many citizens, but it had not provided housing for those who could not afford a . Eleanor Roosevelt, who had toured poverty-stricken regions of and the Deep South, was among those urging the president to do something.

Senator , who shared the First Lady’s concerns, prepared a new housing bill with Roosevelt’s full support. The 1937 National Housing Act established the United States Housing Authority, which received $500 million to loans for builders willing to buy blocks of slums and build low-cost housing.

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Senator Robert Wagner


The Farm Security Administration

Before the Supreme Court struck it down, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration had paid many to take land out of production to force food prices to rise. The price-support program raised farm income, but it badly hurt tenant farmers. often expelled tenants from the land in order to take it out of production. About 150,000 white and 195,000 tenants left farming during the 1930s for this reason.

To stop this trend, the Farm Security Administration was created in 1937 to give loans to tenants so they could farms. Over the next four years it extended loans of about $1 billion. Members of Congress, many of whom believed the program made problems worse by increasing production and driving down prices, kept its appropriations at a low level.

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The Fair Labor Standards Act

In 1938 New Dealers were still trying to reinstate important prolabor regulations to make up for the Supreme Court’s dismantling of the NIRA in 1935. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 provided more protection for workers, abolished labor, and established a 40- hour workweek for many workers to come into effect within three years.

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Congress, however, was beginning to turn against the New Deal. The of 1937 enabled the Republicans to win many seats in Congress in the midterm elections of 1938. Together with conservative Southern , they began blocking further New Deal legislation. Roosevelt, meanwhile, became increasingly preoccupied with the growing international threat posed by and Japan. By 1939 the New Deal era had come to an end.