America was in a severe economic Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt made his New Deal speech in June 1932. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 made the Depression in America much worse. Roosevelt had to do something to bring confidence back to the country. There was despair all around the country, 23,000 people committed suicide, the largest yearly figure of American history. Employment was a very big problem during the Depression. Over twelve million Americans were unemployed this was a quarter of the countries workforce and the number of people out of work was going up by 12,000 every day. 0,000 companies whose shares were now worthless went out of business, putting even more people out of work.
There was no government system of unemployment pay in America, so most people had to rely on charity to stay alive. The unemployed lined up in queues that could be seen in every city, these queues were called ‘Breadlines’ and the people were waiting for free bread and soup just to say alive. This was very humiliating for men because they were used to providing for their family. Because people didn’t have jobs, esteem was low and this is one of the reasons why Roosevelt introduced the New Deal.
Another reason why Roosevelt introduced the New Deal was for the people in agriculture. People in agricultural areas were hardest hit by the Depression, because the 1920’s had not been kind to them in any way. Huge numbers of farmers were unable to pay their mortgages. By 1932, one in twenty of all farm-owners had been evicted because they were unable to pay their mortgage. Because people were out of work the people in the cities could not all the food the farmers produced therefore their incomes dropped. Most farmers however had no choice but to pack their belongings into their trucks and live on the road.
They picked up work where they could. Things couldn’t get have got any worse for farmers, over farming and drought in the central southern states turned millions of acres into a dust bowl, this badly ruined farmers and drove them off their land. Homelessness was very high during the Depression and something had to be done. Over a million of the unemployed were homeless. Without wages many people could not afford to pay rent or mortgages. 250,000 Americans stopped paying their mortgages in 1932 alone. When this happened they were evicted from their homes.
This meant many had to take to the roads and they often became ‘hobos’ or tramps. The others moved onto the waste ground in the cities where they built huts with old wood, scrap metal and sacking, which they found in rubbish dumps, they often called these places ‘Hoovervilles’ after Herbert Hoover, the President of that time in the Depression. People were living horribly and there was no hope left, Roosevelt wanted to sort this problem out through the New Deal. In the Depression, many people with savings in the bank stayed alive by taking out their savings.
This led to a new problem because some small banks did not have enough ready cash to pay savers their money, so the banks went bankrupt. When a bank failed this scared people so they rushed to their banks taking money out, thinking it was safer to keep it all at home. This sent people panic-stricken and savers demanded their money at once, but the banks too found they didn’t have enough ready cash, so they also had to close down. In 1932, 1616 banks had closed down for this reason, and the number of bank failure was increasing every month.
Economic and social problems affected the whole country during the Depression as seen from the historical evidence. Prosperity would not return by it self and when the presidential election of 1932 the Americans were looking for hope and they hope to find this in Roosevelt’s New Deal. He believed that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. ” This put hope into people’s hearts. Roosevelt’s over riding aim was to create confidence and help the forgotten man, this is why he introduced the New Deal.