Expanding the New Deal
"Boys - this is our hour. We've got to get everything we want - a work program, social security, wages and hours, everything now or never. Get your minds to work on developing a complete ticket to provide security for all the folks of this country up and down and across the board."
- Presidential adviser Harry Hopkins, November 1934
FDR's bold action during his First 100 Days in office stopped the economy's downward spiral. The Great Depression was far from over, but by 1934 unemployment had dropped from 25 percent to 21 percent -- the first decrease since 1929.
Much of this decline resulted from government work programs. But private investment doubled in 1934. For the first time since 1929, America's economy was growing.
Voters rewarded FDR and the Democrats in the 1934 congressional mid-term elections. Democrats increased their already enormous margins in the House and Senate.
FDR and the new Congress faced growing pressure from the left. Labor activists and populists, frustrated by the recovery's slow progress, pushed for bigger and more far-reaching reforms. Roosevelt's legislative agenda for 1935 already called for an expanded New Deal. His plans included landmark legislation that forever changed American economic life.