THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: American public opinion begins to turn against Roosevelt and his New Deal policies

From the News Letter, May 2, 1935

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 6:00 am
Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial, Washington DC. Picture: PA Photo
Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial, Washington DC. Picture: PA Photo

On this day in 1935 an editorial in the News Letter focussed on whether or not President Franklin D Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ had in fact help pull America, and the world, out of the Great Depression. The paper remarked: “In the course of ‘a fireside talk’ to the nation on Saturday night, President [Franklin D] Roosevelt, speaking of efforts to secure industrial prosperity, remarked: ‘Never since my inauguration have I felt so unmistakably the atmosphere of recovery. Fear is vanishing and confidence is returning’.” But the in the opinion of the News Letter “the vast majority of people do not appear to be conscious of this ‘atmosphere of recover’; on the contrary, disappointment is expressed at the poor results achieved for such an enormous expenditure of public funds.” While the people of America supported President Roosevelt’s tireless efforts to restore confidence in the economy public opinion had begun the go against Roosevelt. As the News Letter remarked: “They also want jobs, and they see from 7,000,000 to 10,000,000 men out of work and a sixth of the population dependent on ‘the dole’ for support.” Public opinion had been slowly changing, noted the News Letter, but discontent was now growing rapidly. Evidence of this change, said the News Letter, was reflected by the fact that both the Senate and the House of Representatives had been “severely critical” of Roosevelt’s “recovery policy”.

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