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The New Deal - With A Free Essay Review



Do you know what it’s like to live in a cardboard home, starve, and raise a family in poverty? Unfortunately, most Americans in the 1930s went through this on a day-to-day basis. In 1929 the stock market crashed. Many people lost their life savings; they invested everything they owned in a failing stock market. The country was falling, everyone needed strong leadership and help from the government.

Devastation and desperation started on Thursday, October 24, 1929. There was a strong sense of panic in the air at the Stock Exchange. The stocks were dropping, alarmingly fast; the worried American tried desperately to keep their savings. Markets began to steady again on Friday and Saturday only to sweep back down the following Monday. By Tuesday the twenty-ninth all doubt was erased, many Americans lost everything they had on Black Tuesday (Andrist and Stillman 190). President Herbert Hoover made a decision and refused to provide emergency relief. Hoover believed that it was “strictly a state and local responsibility.” Most local organizations were far too small to handle this big of a situation (Andrist and Stillman 193). America needed a change, a change that would come at the next election time.

Immediately following Herbert Hoover in the presidency line, Mr. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) became America’s 32nd president. This democrat, inaugurated on March 4, 1933, won the 1932 election against Hoover by a landslide. The new president made a promise to his citizens, “I pledge you, I pledge myself, a new deal for the American people.” He reassured Americans that he would change their lives. He promised to get people back to work and back in their homes (“New Deal Timeline 1).

For the hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers, FDR’s promise was helpful and true. For example, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) offered eight million construction jobs. The jobless living in unmodernized areas found work through the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) (“Franklin D. Roosevelt 3). Another program that focused on helping the environment and the unemployed was The Civilian Conservation Corporation (CCC), which created independence and self-esteem for the two and a half million unemployed and unmarried men by putting them “to work maintaining and restoring forests, beaches, and parks” (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 2). A public work program, called the Civil Works Administration (CWA), not only created jobs but also provided physical and psychological help to its four million workers.

In addition to these programs the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was created to protect those who were already working or owned businesses. Even though the NIRA was later proven ineffective and even deemed unconstitutional it once helped American business owners and employees. Before its end the NIRA wrote codes that protected prices, supplies, wages, working conditions, and production. However, businesses soon resented the codes that were becoming too strict (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 2). Often regarded as “one of the best parts of the NIRA,” the Public Works Association (PWA) created jobs such as the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, providing work to hundreds (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 3).

In addition to needing jobs, Americans also needed a sense of security and help protecting their processions. Immediately after taking office, Roosevelt shut down every bank in the nation; this allowed Congress to pass the Emergency Banking Act, giving the government the power to inspect the stability of America’s banks. Following this act the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was formed to insure deposits of up to five thousand dollars. Most Americans now had faith in their banking systems; citizens no longer worried about the safety of their life savings (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 1). Another program, called the Federal Securities Act of May 1933, required full disclosure of information of all stocks being sold. By doing this, the Securities and Exchange Commission had complete control over the stock market. Many believe that this act is crucial to long-term success of a business (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 2-3).

Not only did the programs of the New Deal protect finances, they gave money back to Americans too. For instance, the Social Security Act (SSA) provided many citizens with a newfound sense of security by creating a program the paid the injured, blind, and deaf (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 4). Another new program was created, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) help farmers out by loaning millions of dollars. The FSA also set up camps for migrant workers.

Sure, there we’re relief programs aimed towards helping America, but none quite like the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). Mr. Harry Hopkins of FERA set out the “revitalize many deteriorating relief programs”. He did just that. FERA sent out five million dollars to local, depleted relief programs in its first two hours alone (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 1). In some cases, mortgages had to be refinanced in order to be saved; the Home Owners Loan Corporation was created to help with this issue (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 3).

As one can imagine, different groups of people were affected, and helped differently thorough out the Great Depression. For example, The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 gave the Native Americans back the ownership of unallocated lands and put a stop to the selling of any tribal lands (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 2). In some cases, Union Workers were favored over others. The Wagner Act legalized practices such as “closed shops” where only Union Workers could work. Of course, during this time of great hardship, many children had no choice but to go to work; however, the Fair Labor Standards Act created new child labor laws and even set a minimum wage. One program, originally aimed at aiding farmers, eventually did the exact opposite. The Agriculture Adjustment Administration raised farm prices then bribed the poor farmers with the profits if they would agree to only grow certain crops. This led to a lower production rate which led to much higher prices (“Franklin D. Roosevelt” 3).

Generally speaking, the mother of the family is often seen as a caring, nurturing supporter, protecting her family the best she can. The Great Depression did not change the way society saw women; in fact, women were needed then more than ever (McElvaine 102). Men needed the comfort that women often brought to them in order to fill in the gap left behind by the depression.

Men and women were both affected by the Great Depression; and although the exact events were way different, the severity of them was identical. Unfortunately, most married women were fired from their jobs during the depression. With in a two year time span, even those few women with positions in the government were dismissed from their jobs (“New Deal” 2). So, why were all of these women fired from their jobs? Many people, mostly men, voiced their opinion that women, particularly married women, should be fired from their jobs. It was believied that this would create more room for the unemployed males; in all actuality most men didn’t want or accept these jobs (McElvaine 101).

Consequently, these unemployed women needed financial help. Harry Hopkins estimated that four hundred thousand women were in dire need of immediate help from the government. As this number continued to escalade, he worked hard to set up relief programs. In addition, Mrs. Roosevelt sponsored a White House Conference on the Emergency Needs of Women to consult with government officials over their plans and ideas concerning relief programs (“New Deal” 2).

Due partly to Mrs. Roosevelt’s and Mr. Hopkins hard work and dedication, several job programs were started, primarily for women. For example, Ellen Sullivan directed the women’s division of FERA. She worked to build three hundred thousand new jobs for women such as canning and gardening, be a librarian, and even working for schools. Even though progress was being made, women’s reemployment was “slow, sporadic, [and] inadequate.” By 1938 more that three million women remained unemployed and nearly two million had suffered the insufficiency of part time work. Wages were different based on job difficulty and skill level; wages also varied between men’s and women’s wages showed (“New Deal” 2).

As time went on, more and more programs jumped up to help unemployed women. However, more attention was also needed to help the women who had unsatisfactory jobs. Unfortunately, most of the jobs FERA created failed due to private industry. Also, men would not hire women; men saw women as weak and incapable. Women who had families could not travel to work as the men could.

In conclusion, FDR saw problems with the United States and fixed them with the New Deal. The many programs he and others helped to create saved many lives, homes, and families. Without the New Deal we could still be living in a time very similar to the Great Depression. However, the New Deal did help to solve America’s problems, it did not end the depression, unemployment, or poverty; it did provide a sense of security to American citizens, and insure hope in their country (“New Deal” 3).

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ESSAY REVIEW

I don't really like your introduction. The first sentence seems to be a manipulative, rhetorical question (it's not designed to make me think something, but to make me feel something), and the second sentence, I would imagine, is untrue. The Great Depression was bad, but most Americans didn't live in cardboard homes and starve. The last sentence of the opening paragraph is also untrue: not everyone needed help from the government, except in the trivial sense that, even today, everyone might be said to need help in one form or another from the government (e.g., to maintain infrastructure and provide security). The larger problem with the introductory paragraph, however, is that it doesn't really introduce the essay. It doesn't identify the actual issues the essay will explore, or specify the argumentative topic of the essay. I can guess from the introduction that the essay will say something about the Depression, but I've no idea beyond that what to expect. In fact, I learn more about the topic of the essay from the title than from the introduction. That can be frustrating for a reader who (like me) wants to have a good idea of what he's getting into before committing to reading the rest of the essay!

It may sound mean to say, but I'm afraid I don't really like the second paragraph either. In it, you go from recounting events that took place over the course of a few days in 1929 to the large long-term impact of those events, to the failure of Hoover to address that impact, to the need for political change. As a historical description that all appears a bit disjunctive to me.

(Okay, that's enough meanness.) The rest of the paragraphs provide a reasonably informative overview of Roosevelt's programs.

(And now back to being mean again.) But what do these paragraphs tell me that I don't already know? Well, actually, a bit more than I would care to admit, but what do they tell me that I wouldn't know if I'd bothered to read the relevant wikipedia page? What is the essay, in other words, beyond a list of more or less objective facts organized in a slightly haphazard way (an impression one gets especially strongly when, without transition or segue or warning, the essay undergoes an abrupt shift in focus to discuss the view or status of women in American society during the Depression and the response to their plight)? Your essay wants purpose; it wants an argument.

In your conclusion, your essay introduces one argumentative claim that might have provided your essay with a purpose other than that of recording facts: "Without the New Deal we could still be living in a time very similar to the Great Depression." That's a fairly strong way of making the claim that the New Deal helped to end the Great Depression. As it happens, that's an arguable claim. It doesn't go without saying that Roosevelt's policies helped to end the Depression. Some economists (those whacky Chicago School of Economics boys, for example) would argue that the policies deepened and prolonged the Depression. Perhaps examining economic theorists' responses to the New Deal is beyond the scope of your essay, but presumably you could still make some kind of argument about the efficacy or value of the New Deal, and make it into the central point of your essay. That's what I think you ought to do: write a thesis that clearly articulates a specific, arguable claim about the New Deal (it doesn't have to be the one in the conclusion; it might, for instance, be that the New Deal discriminated against women, if you want to emphasize that element of your essay). Put that thesis in your introduction. Prove it.

Proving it, of course, is the hard part. Typically, you cannot prove a thesis by presenting facts. You will need a whole bunch of new reasonable claims that show how the facts support your larger argument.

Language note: "Way" won't be an approved synonym of "very" until people like me die out. For now, use “very” (it's way better!). At one point, you've got "the" instead of "to," but I've forgotten where (you'll find it!). "Escalade" is what the English did a few hundred years ago at the walls of French towns, before giving up and starting a siege (hint: replace the d with a t). There were a number of other typos that I noticed as I was reading but have since forgotten, but they'll be gone once you're done proofreading.

Best wishes, EJ
Submitted by: 14khanks
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