Lesson Plan: The New Deal

Franklin Roosevelts 1933 Inauguration

Curator Herman Eberhardt gave a tour of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and discussed the significance of FDR's 1933 inauguration address.


In 1932 the United States was in the depths of the Great Depression with the government struggling on the best way to intervene when Franklin Roosevelt won a landslide victory in the presidential election, promising a "new deal" for Americans. The New Deal was a series of government programs and financial reforms meant to put many Americans back to work, stabilize the economy, and give people hope that the depression would end. In this lesson, students will learn about the creation of the New Deal, its impact on the Great Depression and the economy, as well as its legacy on the role of the government in the lives of the American people.



    Have students either complete the Great Depression Lesson or research the causes and impact of the Great Depression prior to the election of Franklin Roosevelt.

    Then, as a class watch the following video and have the students answer the questions below:

    VIDEO CLIP: Franklin Roosevelts 1933 Inauguration (2:15)

    • Describe the significance of FDR's line of "there is nothing to fear, but fear itself" in his inauguration speech.

    • What line changed in the last minute of FDR's inauguration address?

    • Do you think FDR's inaugural address would be effective in helping give the nation confidence during the Great Depression? Explain.

    Break students into groups and have each group view the following video clips. Students should take notes using the handout provided or answer the individual Bell Ringer questions, and then share their findings with the rest of the class.

    HANDOUT: New Deal Handout (Google Doc)

  • Video Clip: Franklin Roosevelt's First 100 Days (0:52)

    Herman Eberhardt discussed the legislation that Franklin Roosevelt passed in his first 100 days as president.

    Video Clip: FDR and the New Deal (9:01)

    Author and History Professor Eric Rauchway discusses the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the New Deal.

    Video Clip: The Great Depression and Public Policy (6:58)

    Author Amity Shlaes talks about the various public policy attempts to stimulate the economy during the Great Depression.

    Video Clip: New Deal and Economic Recovery (7:35)

    University of California, Davis history professor Eric Rauchway talks about the state of the U.S. and global economy after the Wall Street crash of 1929, as well as the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs that helped to foster economic recovery.

    Video Clip: The Legacy of the New Deal (1:48)

    Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns discussed the impact and legacy of FDR's New Deal.


    After watching the videos and reporting out to the class, have students participate in a "Take a Stand" activity with the following question.

    "FDR's New Deal programs were responsible for stabilizing the economy and ending the Great Depression"

    Have students line up on a continuum based on their opinion from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree.” Ask several students from different points on the line to share their reasoning and defend their position.


    After completing the "Take a Stand" activity, have students write an essay (or similar culminating activity) that includes the following information. Students should cite specific examples from the videos and class discussion.

    • The goal of Franklin Roosevelt's first 100 days as president

    • Different examples of New Deal programs, their goals, and their impact

    • The different events that led to the end of the Great Depression

    • The lasting impact of the New Deal on the United States today

Additional Resource

  • LESSON PLAN: The Great Depression

    In this lesson, students will learn about the causes and impact of the Great Depression as well as the significance of governmental policies on the crisis.


  • Bank Holiday
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • First 100 Days
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Great Depression
  • Gross Domestic Product
  • Herbert Hoover
  • New Deal
  • Social Security Administration


Social Services U.S. History


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