Effects of the New Deal on Society

What I already know…

New Deal policies and actions affected various social and ethnic groups. Although the New Deal respresented many important opporunities for minority groups, what these groups gained was limited. Prejudice and discrimination continued to torment them and to prevent their full and equal participation in national society.

1. American Women: Although many American women were marked by setbacks during the years of the New Deal, they also experienced some victories.

Frances Perkins, America's first femal cabinet member as Secretary of Labor.

Women achieved success in the sense that they began to fill highly important positions in the federal government for the first time ever. For example, President Roosevelt appointed a woman named Francis Perkins Secretary of Labor, making her the first women to serve in the cabinet. Along with Perkins, many women also gained important upper-level administrative positions in New Deal agencies and programs. However, most of these welfare programs were intended primarily for men and offered few benefits to women. They even targeted women by prohibiting the federal government from hiring members of the same family, causing many women to lose their jobs.

2. African Americans: African Americans were particularly hard hit by the Great Depression. Many lost their jobs to unemployed whites who took over, and many blacks struggled to survive. With the New Deal also came more setbacks African Americans.

Mary McLeod Bethune was a strong supporter of the New Deal, and was appoined by Roosevelt to a key position in the federal government.

The Agricultural Adjustment Administration offered white landowners cash for leaving their fields unharvested, however, many whites did not pass on their government checks to the black sharecroppers and tenant farmers who actually worked the land. Even in the North, African Americans found that the New Deal did not treat them as well as the whites. Aside the few setbacks, African Americans did find respect in other areas of the New Deal, such as the Public Works Administration and the Farm Security Administraion, both of which grew more sensitive to the needs of African-Americans. Like women, many African Americans were also appointed to government roles, earning them leadership positions and respect in their national communities.

3. Mexican Americans: Between 1900 and 1930, the number of Mexican people living in America soared from 375,000 to over 1.1 million. Many Mexicans found employment and low paying work on large farms, however, the Great Depression greatly reduced the need for farm labor, causing Mexican American unemployment to skyrocket. In an effort to solve the nation’s unemployment issue, the federal government sent nearly 400,00-0 Mexicans and Mexican-Americans to Mexico. Those who remained in America faced horrible poverty and unfair discrimination with little help from the New Deal.

Research Reflection:

I’ve learned that while the New Deal was created in an effort to combat the effects of the Great Depression for all Americans, different social and ethnic groups weren’t always treated equally. While some groups flourished, others remained inferior and helpless. However, I think that the New Deal definitely made a lasting impact on increasing the government’s role in the struggle for equal rights.

Sources: http://millercenter.org/president/fdroosevelt/essays/biography/8

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1 Response to “Effects of the New Deal on Society”


  1. 1 mr. metzger April 15, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    Very thoughtful angle to take on the effects of the New Deal. You have included impressive details to support your research. However, I would have liked to see you locate more than just one website for your research.

    Also, I liked your lead in sentences as an introduction, in terms of Women and African Americans. However, it was not present in your third paragraph on Mexican Americans.

    Consistency all the way through is a sign of a thoughtful edit.

    Great job, though. Thoughtful and written in a way that engages the reader.

    Thank you.


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