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The war effort stimulated American industry and, as a result, effectively ended the Great Depression.
From 1933 until 1941, President Roosevelt’s programs and policies did more than just adjust interest rates, tinker with farm subsidies and create short-term make-work programs.
In August, FDR signed the Social Security Act of 1935, which guaranteed pensions to millions of Americans, set up a system of unemployment insurance and stipulated that the federal government would help care for dependent children and the disabled. Workers grew more militant: In December 1936, for example, the United Auto Workers started a sit-down strike at a GM plant in Flint, Michigan that lasted for 44 days and spread to some 150,000 autoworkers in 35 cities.
Arguing that they represented an unconstitutional extension of federal authority, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court had already invalidated reform initiatives like the NRA and the AAA.
In order to protect his programs from further meddling, in 1937 President Roosevelt announced a plan to add enough liberal justices to the Court to neutralize the “obstructionist” conservatives.
On March 9, Congress passed Roosevelt’s Emergency Banking Act, which reorganized the banks and closed the ones that were insolvent.
In his first “fireside chat” three days later, the president urged Americans to put their savings back in the banks, and by the end of the month almost three quarters of them had reopened.