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FDR's New Deal Program was a Success

by Em16

I'm doing a debate in my History class, and I have to argue FDR's New Deal programs were a success.

 In 1931, 20,000 Americans committed suicide. 20,000 people, shocked by the Great Depression, decided life was not worth it anymore.

The American people had hit a slump. In 1933, 13 million were unemployed and GDP was 39% below average. By the end of the Great Depression, 90,000 businesses had failed.

This seemed like an impossible hole to dig out of. Yet by 1942, a mere 9 years later, America had made a full recovery. Real GDP was above pre-Depression levels as early as 1939. When did this miraculous recovery start? 1933, the same year FDR took office.

The end of the Great Depression is directly linked to FDR’s New Deal programs, which helped millions of Americans. For example, the Works Progress Administration, which employed Americans for construction projects, such as building airports, roads and schools. In the 8 years it operated, the WPA helped 9 million Americans. If that was the only thing FDR did, that would still have had an enormous impact. But he did more.

FDR created the Civilian Conservation Corps, an organization that paid young men $30 to do various nature improvement projects around the country. The CCC helped 2 million people. Not only was he helping the ordinary worker, he also employed artists through the Federal Theater Project, the Federal Art Project, and the Federal Writers project. He passed the National Labor Recovery Act, which prohibited companies from discriminating against union members. Workers were now legally allowed to band together and collectively bargain for higher wages. He increased taxes on the rich and funnelled that money to the suffering lower classes. Before Bernie Sanders was even born, he was fighting for the economic rights of the common man. Because of FDR’s intensive efforts to help the economy, GDP rose 9% per year from 1933 to 1937. As Charles Fusco, a worker during the Great Depression put it, "Roosevelt was a damn good man”.

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111 Reviews

Points: 9075
Reviews: 111

Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:18 pm
tgham99 wrote a review...

I love reading essays so I wanted to jump in and leave a review for you here!

First off: I think your hook is very strong; introducing the topic with a shocking fact about suicide is a really good way of getting the audience to immediately pay attention to your essay. A statistic like this is very effective, and this is coming from someone who writes essays for a living. Good job!!

In terms of my personal opinion, I agree that FDR's programs were a success, which is why I find that this essay is relatively effective in asserting that argument. I do think, however, that it could use a bit more "fluffing"; maybe some more statistics about how the programs specifically affected particularly marginalized groups of society would help strengthen your overall argument.

Because your essay is relatively straightforward, I think it would be beneficial to introduce some aspects of pathos into the essay, assuming that it was allowed in your class. Appealing to the reader's emotional side could potentially do a lot to raise your grade and make your argument more effective as a whole.

As a side note, I would remove words like "enormous", which are a bit opinionated, which you'll want to generally avoid when writing professionally.

I would also consider adding a bit more context before including a quote from Charles Fusco; what kind of worker was he? What industry was he in, and why was his quote important enough to include? Did he exemplify the type of worker that FDR's policies targeted?

All in all it's a good read and I enjoyed this essay through and through.

Write on! <3

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13 Reviews

Points: 74
Reviews: 13

Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:36 am
Tere5350 wrote a review...


So I just learned this in US history recently and many people actually have different opinions on FDR. First off, I totally agree with you that his programs were a success because many young men were recruited for work, trees were planted to prevent another dust bowl, and the economy wasn't as bad as it was before he stepped in.

However, the opposing side would have argued that the New Deal wasn't successful because of increasing government intervention(which undermines democracy) and the fact that the poor kept getting poorer. To this, I would say that increase government intervention, even if it did not reflect the idea of a democratic state, was necessary because the country was in such a bad condition that immediate measures were needed. Leaving the economy like it was hoping that it would fix itself would just be like digging a deeper hole. Furthermore, I believe the increase in the wealth gap isn't caused solely by FDR's New Deal program. There certainly are factors that also affect this increase, but I wouldn't want to bring them up now or else I would be here all day. :)

I'm curious to see how you would counter-argue those two points though :)

Have a nice day or night!

Poetry comes alive to me through recitation.
— Natalie Merchant