Between 1933 and 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated a series of programs under the umbrella title the "New Deal." Based upon the "3 Rs" - Relief, Recovery and Reform - its purpose was to jump-start the economy of the United States during the Great Depression which began in 1929 with the Stock Market crash and continued until America's entry into World War II in 1941.

"Relief" referred to the immediate effort to help the one-third of the population most affected by the depression. Roosevelt expanded Hoover's Federal Emergency Relief Administration and added, among others, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the WPA (Works Progress Administration), social security and unemployment insurance programs. Separate programs such as the Farm Security Administration were set up for relief in rural America.

"Recovery" was the effort in many programs to restore normal economic health. By most economic indicators this was achieved by 1937 except for unemployment, which remained high until the beginning of World War II.

"Reform" was based on the idea that the Great Depression was caused by market instability and that government intervention was necessary to balance the interests of farmers, business and labor. It included the NRA (National Recovery Administration) which established industrial codes to govern trade, prices, and labor practices.

Opponents of the New Deal complained of the cost and increase of federal power. They managed to stop its expansion and, eventually, to abolish many of its programs. Several of its programs, including the National Recovery Administration, were actually ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.

Two major New Deal programs still exist today: Social Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission which is the primary regulator of Wall Street.

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