Our Documents:
The Second New Deal

"For these things, too, and for a multitude of others like them, we have only just begun to fight."

Our Documents: Franklin Roosevelt's Address Announcing the Second New Deal
October 31, 1936

The day after Franklin Roosevelt announced at the 1932 Democratic National Convention "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people," cartoonist Rollin Kirby picked up the phrase "new deal" and soon newspapers all over the country were referring to Franklin Roosevelt's plan as the New Deal. Initially, President Roosevelt's programs attempted to bring about relief, recovery, and reform with such programs as the National Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act, but when those programs were declared unconstitutional, President Roosevelt pushed through a new set of programs starting in 1935, commonly referred to as the Second New Deal.

Programs passed during the Second New Deal concentrated on providing relief and reform to workers. The Social Security Act provided unemployment insurance and pensions to workers while the Wagner Act guaranteed workers the right to bargain collectively and negotiate with their employers. A new public works program - the Works Progress Administration (WPA) - was also introduced. The WPA employed people to build public and government buildings, parks, and roads; artists, writers, musicians, and actors were also hired by the WPA to create new cultural productions such as plays, artwork, and history guides.

At a campaign speech at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 31, 1936, Franklin Roosevelt explained to the American people what he hoped these new programs would achieve. He was reelected that November having captured 60% of the popular vote.

Franklin Roosevelt's Address at Madison Square Garden Announcing the Second New Deal , October 31, 1936

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