Media and Social Groups after the New Deal Era
What was the New Deal and its significance, and to what extent do you think it had an impact on the economy and on ending Great Depression?
The New Deal is a phrase used to refer to the programs and policies instituted by the President Franklin D. Roosevelt that have been aimed to repair the damage that the Great Depression has done and salvage America from its economic plunge. These changes occurred in various sectors of the economy. They included the laws passed by the legislature and the parastatals constituted. Majority of these policies were initiated during the first hundred days of Roosevelt’s leadership. Although it helped citizens significantly, the role of the New Deal in ending the Great Depression was minor.
Many employees had been fired because of the Depression. In fact, only a quarter of the workforce was employed (Eichengreen, 2004). Under the New Deal, several labor-related organizations were formed to combat the situation. Works Project Administration was created to provide temporary jobs through the establishment of development projects. Public buildings, bridges, and roads were built employing millions in the process across the fifty states. During that period, the Civilian Conservation Corps was charged with employing the unskilled laborers in the conservation of natural resources. The main areas included rural regions, which were managed by governments. This organization provided its workers with basic needs and a monthly salary, which was directed towards family upkeep. To ensure National Recovery, minimum conditions to the employed population had to be set and it led to the establishment of an Administration. It leveled wages, working hours, checked child labor, and guaranteed collective bargaining rights. Moreover, it shaped industrial conventions that prevented and punished trade malpractices.
One of the problems Roosevelt had to face was an economic decline, which was characterized by a stock market crash in 1929 and the colossal bank failures that ensued it. A national fiscal hierarchy was created to prevent a repeat of the same crisis by establishing central monetary control. An insurance corporation was formed for the Federal Deposits as a governmental insurance for bank deposits. All banks were required by law to be recognized by the Reserve System. Once the deposits were safe, there was a development of a commission, which was responsible for overseeing securities and exchange. Its main aim was to protect investors from unscrupulous stock-market procedures.
The USA relied heavily on agriculture for food and trade. A farm program called Agriculture Adjustment Administration was introduced to ensure prosperity in the farms. Through cash subsidies to farmers, the organ-limited production of certain crops caused a rise in their prices on the markets. This initiative maintained a balance between production and consumption. Also, Tennessee Valley Authority was created, which was responsible for building a dam to generate hydroelectric power and supply it cheaply to ambient states. This dam also curbed floods and improved transport.
Besides this, numerous laws were approved under the New Deal umbrella. The Wagner Act promoted labor unions by launching the National Labor Relations Board to create and oversee these unions. This act also increased the federal government’s control of industrial relations. Other laws were passed to guarantee loans for individuals and fund mortgages. Moreover, social security laws were enacted. This package included old age and widows’ benefits, joblessness reparation, and disability insurance. These are the reforms, policies, programs, and laws that are known as the New Deal.
The New Deal played its role in ending the Great Depression. Through the employment programs, millions of people secured jobs though temporarily. The financial settings helped rich entrepreneurs invest more money safer than before. More Americans managed to own homes courtesy of the mortgage plans. The social security project came as a great relief for the old, widowed, disabled, and unemployed. Dependency ratios improved. The Deal benefited the majority of the people in one way or another. However, looking closely one learns that these have been short terms solutions to ailments that required long-term approaches (Romer, 1992). These were incumbents to prevent the ship from sinking lower as better ways were sought. The New Deal prevented the economy from crumbling, but its role in eliminating the Great Depression was peripheral.
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What has been the role of the mass media – newspapers, radio, film, television (transistors), and computer-based communication technologies – in building significant reform coalitions, social movements, as well as reactive organizations?
The media has been a cornerstone in promoting reforms since the Great Depression. Social movements, reform coalitions, and reactive organizations have depended on the media to marshal political support and increase membership. Through communication to the masses, organizations gain popularity and put an invite to people with similar agenda. In addition, the media validates an organization and its objectives by proving its legitimacy. Through comparison, the media presents the grievances as good, bad, or something that people can relate with directly. Communication is prime in any group of people. Ways of communication improved significantly after the New Deal era. Organizations embraced the mass media as a means of passing messages especially to many people. Aspects such as film production, print media, and radio airing were employed in these processes. Improved means of communication has made it faster to pass messages. It has increased contact time between members of organizations, therefore, creating strong bonds. By being a means of communication between organizations and the public, the media played a key role in building significant reform coalitions.
While evidence exists, brand new organizations have managed to stage record-breaking demonstrations in terms of turn up despite motivational barriers. The Promise Keepers are a testimony that media has a huge stake in successful activities. One of their protests in Washington D.C was double the size of a women’s’ March held the day before at the same place. The only difference between the two is that one had a huge media coverage and follow up. In a different case, Montgomery Bus Boycott received a media spotlight, which became of great benefit to the movement (Henretta & Brody, 2010). The communication of information to the public invited other African-Americans to join in the demonstration. Consequently, it inspired one of the most acceptable reforms of the century. This tendency proves that the media helps mobilize support for organizations and contribute to their success. Besides that, the Black Panthers Party was particularly awe striking. At one time, they volunteered to help the poor in ghettos as a way of pushing against social injustices. This activity received very low media coverage. While they might have had their reasons for preferring other stories, there is only one that stands when all factors kept constant. At such a time when conservatives reigned supreme, changes were unwelcome. Activities that were more ruthless were expected in such a boycott.
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Furthermore, technology has provided a motley of means of communication to choose from when passing a message to the public or authorities. William F. Buckley, a conservative, founded the National Review, a magazine in which he wrote about the New Right beliefs and propositions. He also wrote books in which he emphasized why the New Left should join them. Neil Postman is another writer, a humanist, who has chosen to pass his beliefs on paper in books like Amusing Ourselves to Death (Henretta & Brody, 2010). Films and motion pictures technology has also become popular as a means of conveying messages in unique styles. Racial justice activists made documentaries about these injustices, which caused a societal evaluation of the African American perspective. An organization is as good as it can relay a message to its audience. Media helped building significant and strong coalitions, organizations and movements by enhancing communication.
It is only social groups that are long-lived and are not liberal with their opinion on the state of affairs. Consequently, such are less reliant on the media coverage for their existence. Otherwise, the media has become a major player on these markets. Its role in the American public has never met alterations; this public has enhanced it over time. Gamson and Wolfsfeld, (1993) refers to it as a companion in quest for justice for the public. Thus, the media helped to build strong coalitions and movements by mobilizing support, approving their activities, and being a tool of communication.