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Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal

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It was called "relief." Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal provided relief to millions of Americans who had lost their homes, their jobs, and their hope. Many others felt that the radical new policies of FDR threatened the sanctity of the Constitution and free enterprise. Roosevelt's New Deal policies had many critics but among the most vocal were groups like the American Liberty League and powerful Socialists who argued that the New Deal policies either went too far or not far enough in solving the problems that faced the nation.

Roosevelt's critics came from both ends of the political spectrum. The American Liberty League was an opposing group made up of conservative businessmen and corporate leaders. Believing that the free enterprise system was being attacked, they accused Roosevelt of trying to install a dictatorship in place of the federal government. In an excerpt from a 1935 article in Fortune magazine, the Roosevelt Administration is thought to be a government of men and not laws. The author compares Roosevelt to a dictator and calls his theory of federal administration "menacing and dangerous". Another political cartoon printed in the June 1936 issue of Current History, ridicules the Liberty League as being alarmist in accusing Roosevelt of bringing communism into the country.

Herbert Hoover, a former president, agreed with the conservative ideas of this

group. He disagreed with New Deal Legislation such as the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) or the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). The basic idea of these New Deal programs was to lower the supply of goods to the current, depressed level of consumption. Under the AAA, the government sought to raise farm prices by paying farmers not to grow surplus crops. Other reforms that Hoover had issue with was the establishment of the TVA. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was a public works project that spanned seven states. TVA damns helped control floods and also provided a source of hydroelectric power to the area. Never before had the federal government undertaken a project of such scope and maintained control over the public works it helped create. Reformers had pushed for the development of the nation's water resources a source of electricity but opposition from the utility companies had been too great to overcome. Hoover was one such opponent of government intervention in the free

enterprise system. In a speech given in October 1936, he attacks Roosevelt's

policies. " ..this New Deal attack upon free institutions has emerged as the most

significant issue in America. This attack includes...price fixing through codes,

'economic planning' to coerce the farmer....plans to put the government into business

competition with its citizens..."

Another opponent of Roosevelt's New Deal came from an unexpected corner.

In 1935, the Supreme Court ruled that both the AAA and the NIRA were unconstitutional

pieces of legislation. Roosevelt denounced the justices for their "horse and buggy"

interpretations of the legislation. In February 1937, Roosevelt proposed a law in an effort to reshape the Supreme Court. FDR proposed legislation that would allow him to appoint six new justices to the high court. He proposed that the court was overworked and needed young

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