By 1932 unemployment in the USA had reached 13 million and was rising rapidly. The poor were without food and eating in soup kitchens. The depression was causing public disorder and when a group of 22,000 First World War veterans (The Bonus Army) marched to Washington because, like many other people, these veterans were poor and demanded to be given an immediate bonus which the government had promised to give them in 1945, tanks were sent in to disperse them.
People were shocked by the violence and critical of the government’s response. The Republicans, lead by President Hoover did not believe in interfering in business to promote prosperity, he claimed that it was the government’s job to encourage rather than to spend. As a result he refused to set up relief programmes to help the unemployed and he argued that it was up to the individuals to turn around the economy.
The people were unhappy as they had been promised ‘the final triumph over poverty’ in 1928, but the Republicans had been unable to offer any solution to the collapse of the economy.
Roosevelt was a good campaigner showing himself to be cheerful, optimistic and caring, whereas Hoover was plodding, drab and defeated throughout the election campaign.
The speech in Source A is in terms of waging war on poverty, Roosevelt talks of a ‘call to arms’, a ‘crusade’ and ‘waging war’. This is very active and energetic in contrast to Hoover’s defensiveness.
The people had been hurt by poverty and were being given a chance to fight back by voting for the Democrats. Roosevelt appeals to patriotism in his ‘crusade to restore America’ and gives hope when using the word ‘restore’ that prosperity can return.
The phrasing ‘Destruction, Delay, Deceit and Despair’ is full of energy and shows that Roosevelt means business.
People supported Roosevelt in the 1932 election because they were disillusioned with Hoover who had been unable to bring them out of the depression and because Roosevelt was positive, forceful and able to give hope. A ‘New Deal’ appealed to them because the old deal had failed and they were being called to take action against poverty along with their government as Roosevelt says ‘Give me your help… to win in this crusade’
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