The New Deal and the Relationship between Individual Freedom and Government Action

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George Washington University
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When President Roosevelt took office, America was in the midst of the great depression calamity, and therefore the ordinary citizens needed something that would ease their lives and make them less straining as it had previously been. Upon the defeat of his political opponent, Roosevelt knew the task that awaited him was difficult, and that if his presidency were to last long, the poor people who had been neglected would have to be addressed. As Martha Gellhorn notes in her report, the people only trust the supreme being of president Roosevelt, he is the only president who ever addressed the grievances of the forgotten man. Therefore, to meet these expectations and to address the sufferings of the poor people, he offered the nation a New Deal which had the sole purpose of eliminating the economic constraints and unemployment, while at the same time providing greater opportunity while restoring prosperity in the United States.

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However, the new deal also gave the Federal government more powers and control over public and private projects and finances in the attempt of providing regulations to corporations and institutions which were deemed as the source of the great depression. These regulations were welcomed by the poor people who more often blamed the large corporations for their woes while the business class saw it as an infringement on their freedoms and hard work. According to the people opposing the New deal, the restrictions on how much wealth one could accumulate were a contradiction on the ideals on which the United States was founded, and unconstitutional. Examples of such sentiments were echoed in the Herbert Hoovers campaign speech in 1936. He pointed out his opposition towards the deal by indicating that, the agreement aims at attacking the freedom and liberties of the free people. He further notes that the deal violates the constitution as it limits what free men should accomplish in the field of business and trade by the introduction of trade monopolies and price-fixing through codes.

By the government acquiring too much power as a result of the new deal, most rich people felt threatened by their government. They thought that they would be compelled to share their wealth with the poor people whom most deemed as lazy and unable to be helped unless they help themselves. According to some of the propositions of the deal by Huey Long on the redistribution of wealth every family was to be furnished by the government, no person would have a fortune of less $ 5,000, and a limit of $ 1,500,000 and $ 5,000,000 had to be imposed. While the abled saw it as a violation of their rights as enshrined in the constitution, the poor did not have a problem with the proposed regulations as most could not afford a decent living. Instead of condemning the perceived infringement on individual freedom, most Americans who were composed of the poor and the unemployed welcomed such ideas as they offered a glimpse of hope.

The New Deal succeeded significantly in altering how the government serves its people. Despite the objections and the hurdles that the deal faced, the poor people were provided with some form of economic relief that offered them better wages. They were allowed to form trade unions that would defend their rights, the working hours, and the average minimum wage. Against the fears that individual rights would be violated, the deal upheld these rights by ensuring that free people had a decent life, they were free from fear of intimidation and threat by their employers and organizations. The free people were assured of freedom of speech and expression of their grievances without being sacked.


In conclusion, the New Deal was a better than nothing deal for the American people it changed the lives of the ordinary citizens who had been forgotten by the previous governments and were ravaging in punishing poverty before president Roosevelt took power. His policies and the effects of the deal would change the American political landscape forever in that the later candidates would prioritize the wellbeing of the poor people. The agreement paved the way for how future governments should take up the role of ensuring their people security and decent lives. Thanks to the deal, programs like social security and FDIC came into existence.

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