The Second New Deal
The Second New Deal
The 1934 congressional elections showed that no matter what the critics thought, the public was solidly in favor of the New Deal. Democrats gained even more seats in Congress. This put FDR in a position to initiate more pro- grams that he hoped would help the economy recover over the long term, rather than simply bringing immediate relief to those who needed it.
The “Second New Deal” included two especially important programs: the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Social Security Act. Created in 1935, the WPA replaced the Civil Works Administration. Over eight years, it employed more than eight million people in construction work, research projects, and teaching jobs. It set aside $300 million for Federal Project Number One, which employed thousands of writers, actors, painters, designers, and musicians. The purpose of Federal Project Number One was twofold: to provide jobs for unemployed artists and to encourage American arts and culture by supporting them financially.
The Social Security Act of 1935 provided unemployment insurance to those who lost their jobs, guaranteed all American workers a government pension once they turned 65, and made payments to disabled workers and to the widows and children of workers. All workers paid a small percentage of each pay- check into a government-administered fund. Once they reached age 65, they would then receive monthly checks based on the average yearly amount of their earnings. In this way, Social Security would pay for itself.
In 1936, FDR ran for reelection against Republican Governor Alfred M. Landon of Kansas. Union and Socialist Party candidates also appeared on the ballot. FDR found it an easy campaign, since all he had to do was remind farmers, workers, and businessmen that they were better off now than they had been when he took office. FDR won the election in the greatest landslide in a century, carrying every state except Vermont and Maine, and winning 11 million more votes than Landon.
Practice questions for these concepts can be found at:
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