Was the New Deal a Success? Basic Information

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Was the New Deal a Success?
Basic Information: The purpose of this lesson is for you to examine evidence about the New Deal and use that evidence to determine whether or not the New Deal was a success. The lesson has three parts, each of which is described below.

Part A. Defining Success – What evidence would prove that the New Deal was success? In other words, how are you defining success?
Part B. Examining Evidence About the New Deal – Read the evidence about the New Deal provided below and complete the chart.

Evidence About New Deal

Does Evidence Suggest New Deal was a Success, Failure,

or Not Relevant? (S, F, NR)

1. Although the New Deal did not end the Great Depression immediately, it did offer relief to millions of Americans.

2. New Deal programs employed more than 12 million workers in a wide variety of jobs – such as building roads, parks, and airports.

3. Many of these jobs were only available to white men.

4. The Great Depression continued throughout the 1930s – the unemployment rate was a high 18% in 1938.

5. The New Deal gave states money to set up soup kitchens and housing camps for needy Americans.

6. Some critics have argued that New Deal programs created an expectation that the government would help Americans even if they did not want to work hard.

7. The New Deal created the FDIC, through which the government monitored banks and insured the money Americans put into banks.

8. The New Deal included the Social Security Act, which created social security taxes and financial support for retired workers over the age of 65. Social security continues to exist today.

9. The Social Security Act was worded so that it did not apply to domestic servants or agricultural workers (such as sharecroppers) – thus the act excluded many Americans, and many African-Americans in particular.

10. The New Deal attempted to help farming families by paying them to reduce production. This raised food prices.

11. Because of increased government spending, the national debt rose from $19 billion in 1932 to $40 billion in 1939.

12. Some critics have argued that the New Deal involved too much experimentation.

13. Some supporters of the New Deal have argued that it saved the country from a revolution.

14. FDR, the creator of the New Deal, was elected to the presidency 4 times – more than any other person in American history.

15. Many Americans hung photos of FDR on their walls and wrote him personal letters.

16. FDR significantly increased the power and prestige of the presidency. He is considered one of the most active presidents in United States history.

17. Some critics argued that FDR’s active and lengthy stay in office suggested that he was a dictator.

18. Some of the New Deal legislation passed by Congress was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Part C. Big Question – Keeping in mind both your definition of success and the evidence above, do you think the New Deal was successful? (Circle One)


Which two pieces of evidence above were most important in helping you reach your conclusion:


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