The New Deal for Kids
In 1933, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) took office as the 32nd President of the United States, things were a mess. There were over 13,000,000 people out of work and nearly every bank had failed. Many people lost their homes and were living in cardboard boxes in Hoovervilles on the outskirts of cities. Factories were closed. Many millions of people were hungry and many were starving. There were no jobs, no hope in sight. This period in history is called the Great Depression because it was the greatest depression (the worst) ever experienced in United States history. There had been other devasting depressions in our past, but, hands down, this was the worst. FDR had a quite a job in front of him to turn the economy around.
The New Deal: FDR's first step, which he did immediately upon taking office, was to create a number of new laws and sweeping reforms to help things get better. He referred to this step as "The New Deal". The purpose of all these new laws and new federal agencies was to provide relief, recovery, and reform. This restructing of government was referred to as the 3Rs (relief, recover, and reform.) FDR used radio broadcasts, his "Fireside Chats", to tell people what was happening, and to explain these new programs. People all over the nation gathered around a radio and listened carefully. FDR's "Fireside Chats" gave them hope that things were going to improve.
Over 50 different agencies and programs were created as part of The New Deal. They were nicknamed the "Alphabet Agencies". Some of the agencies created in the 1930s are still in place today, still protecting people and helping people to achieve a better life.
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