William Gropper, the son of Jewish immigrants who became a Communist sympathizer during the twenties and thirties, was one of the most controversial artists commissioned by the New Deal's Works Progress Administration.
In 1939 Gropper painted a mural on the Department of the Interior building in Washington, D.C., based on his observations of dam construction on the Columbia and Colorado Rivers.
The Great Depression was more than just an American event, it was a worldwide economic disaster whose global scale increased its severity and complicated efforts to address its impact.
Europe was still reeling from the effects of the Great War in 1929.
The American economy sent shock waves around the world.
The rise of communism in the Soviet Union was caused by economic distress.
"Capitalism is dying," said the theologian.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted to do that in 1933.
He would change capitalism from within.
He believed that the problem of twentieth- century life was the excessive power of large corporations.
Corporate capitalism could only be regulated by the federal government and an active president.
In dire circumstances, few leaders have taken office.
Within days of becoming president, FDR took dramatic steps that changed the scope and role of the federal government while keeping the nation from fragmenting.
He believed that America's democratic form of government had a responsibility to help people who were in distress.
With the help of Congress, he was able to put in place dozens of measures to relieve human suffering and promote economic recovery.
FDR was an inspiring personality, overflowing with cheerfulness, strong convictions, and an unshakeable confidence in himself and in the resilience of the American people.
He was a pragmatist who was willing to try different approaches.
The Second New Deal was launched in 1935 by FDR.
Some of the initiatives failed miserably.
Their combined effect restored hope and energy to the nation.
The federal government is responsible for national eco nomic planning and for restoring prosperity.
Roosevelt referred to the "forgotten man" as the work ing poor, both men and women.
Franklin Roosevelt was the only child of wealthy parents and enjoyed a pampered life.
He was educated at Springwood, a Hudson River manor near Hyde Park.
At the age of fourteen, he boarded his father's private railroad car and traveled to Massachusetts, where he attended an exclusive school.
He did not earn a degree after attending Harvard College and Columbia University Law School.
He married Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, his cousin and the niece of Theo Roosevelt, while he was a law student.
Theodore's alcoholic brother died in 1894 at the age of thirty four.
Franklin Roosevelt won a seat in the New York State Senate in 1910.
Tal was destined for greatness.
He was appointed the assistant secretary of the navy by President Wilson in 1913.
Roosevelt became James Cox's running mate on the Democratic ticket.
There was a tragedy.
Franklin Roosevelt contracted a disease at age thirty nine that left him permanently disabled.
He strength ened his body for seven years with the help of his wife.
He was transformed by the knowledge that his disability would be permanent.
His legs were paralyzed, but he expanded his sympathies.
He became more aware of the plight of people facing hard times.
Roosevelt made people feel at ease and expressed his genuine concern about their troubles.
The common touch as well as a great talent for public relations, but he was also vain and calculating.
He was a good politician.
FDR was not a good administrator or deep thinker.
He had many virtues, including courage, good instincts, and a charming personality.
He was determined to help those who couldn't help themselves, and he loved talking to voters and reporters.
He was willing to experiment with using government power and resources to address the pressing problems of the Great Depression.
FDR embraced the orthodoxy of a balanced budget, but only to incur more budget deficits than all his predecessors combined as he expanded the scope of the federal government.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt assumed leadership during a national crisis that threatened the very fabric of American capitalism and unleashed widespread civil unrest.
Walter Lippmann warned that the situation was critical.
In Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union, you may have to assume dictatorial powers.
The speech Roosevelt gave won rave reviews.
The New Deal devastated the farm sector and reformed the capitalist system that contributed to the Depression.
He quickly addressed all the challenges.
The important thing was to do something bold and fast.
It was not time for timid leadership.
Roosevelt assembled a "brain trust" of specialists to advise him.
The president and his advisers came up with a plan to revive the economy and help those in need.
Emergency relief for the unemployed would be provided first.
The New Dealers came to Washington in the winter of 1933 to encourage agreements between management and unions to keep businesses afloat.
The Congress was ready to act.
Congress will deliver the first of his popular approved fifteen major pieces of legis "fireside chats" to a national radio lation proposed by Roosevelt.
Measures to reform the American banking system were the focus of this message.
Money disappeared from circulation in 1933.
Since the stock market crash of 1929, panicky deposi tors have been withdrawing their money from banks and buying gold.
The Depression was worsened by taking so much money out of circulation.
Almost 700 banks a year had failed through the twenties.
The number doubled and then tripled after 1929.
Franklin Roosevelt called on Congress to convene in an emergency session on his first full day in office.
The Emergency Banking Relief Act was asked to be passed by the legislators.
For the first time, all U.S. banks closed.
The Emergency Banking Act of 1933 was drafted by Roosevelt's financial experts to inject $2 billion of new cash into the economy.
People returned their money to the banks the next day.
Roosevelt's advisers said that capitalism was saved in eight days.
On June 5, 1933, Roosevelt shocked the financial world and earned the disdain of bankers by taking the United States off the gold standard.
The president was able to increase the currency supply and ward off deflation by dropping the gold standard.
The sooner countries abandon the gold standard, the quicker their economies recover.
Most nations did it by 1936.
The Banking Act of 1933 was signed by Roosevelt.
The act called for the separation of commercial banking from investment banking to prevent banks from investing in the risky stock market.
After 1933, only banks that specialized in investment could trade shares in the stock market.
The Federal Reserve Board was given more power to intervene in future emergencies.
The banking crisis was ended by these steps.
The securities industry had little government oversight before the Great Crash.
In 1933, President Roosevelt's administration developed two pieces of legislation intended to regulate the operations of the stock market.
The first major federal legislation to regulate the sale of stocks and bonds was the Securities Act of 1933.
Every corporation that issued stock for public sale was required to give all relevant information about the operations and management of the company.
FDR convinced Congress to pass the Economy Act, which allowed him to cut government workers' salaries, reduce payments to military veterans for non- service- connected disabilities, and reorganize federal agencies in order to reduce government expenses.
He ended prohibition because he wanted to regain federal tax revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages, and because it was so widely violated that most Democrats wanted to end it.
The Twenty- First Amendment ended prohibition.
The human distress caused by joblessness and homelessness was one of the top priorities.
Herbert Hoover refused to help the homeless since he assumed that individual self reliance, acts of charity, and the efforts of local organizations would suffice.
The number of people in need far exceeded the capacity of charitable organizations and local agen cies was known by the Roosevelt administration.
He insisted that the fed eral government help the unemployed and homeless by giving them jobs, even though he did not believe that the government should give suffering people cash.
The federal government took responsibility for helping the most desperate Americans.
Roosevelt's first effort to deal with unemployment was the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
The money was sent to the states to help the homeless.
The Civil Works Administration was created by Congress in 1933.
During the winter of 1933-1934, the CWA provided 4 million federal jobs and organized a number of useful projects: repairing 500,000 miles of roads, laying sewer lines, constructing or improving more than 1,000 airports and 40,000 public schools, and providing 50,000 teaching jobs that helped keep small rural public schools The CWA was dissolved by Roosevelt during the New Deal.
By April 1934, 4 million workers were out of work.
The War Department managed the Civilian Corps, which was the most successful New Deal jobs program.
Up to half a million young men were housed in 2,500 camps in forty- seven states.
They worked as "soil soldiers" in national forests, parks, and recreational areas.
150,000 military veterans and 85,000 Native Americans were recruited and housed in separate camps.
African Americans and Native Americans were not allowed to work in the CCC.
The workers had to be between 60 and 78 inches tall and have at least six teeth.
They were to be paid $1 a day for no more than nine months.
The Civilian Corps were on a break.
The camps were run by army officers and foresters.
Oscar De Priest, an African American legislator from Illinois, introduced an amendment requiring that the agency not discriminate on account of race, color, or creed.
The 2.5 million people who signed up for the program were provided shelter in barracks, uniforms, food, and a small wage of $30 a month for nine years.
The young men could get diplomas.
Roosevelt loved to visit the camps.
The New Deal gave him the chance to revive the movement to preserve America's natural resources.
He believed that a nation that destroyed its soils destroyed itself.
He claimed that his policies would create new forests.
3 million young men passed through the program after it was dismantled.
In 1933, an estimated 1,000 homes or farms were being foreclosed upon every day because people couldn't pay their mortgage.
The Home Owners' Loan Corporation helped people lower their interest rates.
Roosevelt created the Federal Housing Administration in 1934, which offered long-term mortgages to reduce monthly payments.
Home mortgages used to have terms of less than ten years.
The National Indus trial Recovery Act was the centerpiece of the New Deal's efforts to revive the industrial economy.
The projects were funded by the federal government.
The Public Works Administration was started by the NIRA and grants $3.3 billion for the construction of government buildings, highways, bridges, dams, port facilities, and sewage plants.
The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State are noteworthy projects.
Forty- seven public housing projects for low-income Americans were part of the New Deal.
The federal government's role in the econ omy was changed by the NRA.
Washington bureaucrats took charge of setting prices, wages, and standards for working conditions for the first time in peacetime.
The primary purpose of the NRA was to promote economic growth by ignoring anti- trust laws and allowing executives of competing businesses to negotiate among themselves and with labor unions to create "codes of fair competition" that would set prices, production levels, minimum wages, and maximum hours within each industry, no Women who made their living as strippers in New York City agreed to limits on the number of performers on stage and the number of performances they could provide.
The "fair labor" policies included in the codes were long sought by unions and social progressives, and included a national forty- hour workweek with a maximum eight- hour workday, minimum weekly wages of $13 in the South, and a ban on the employment of children under the age of The right of workers to organize unions was guaranteed by the NRA.
The downward spiral of wages and prices stopped for a while.
Small business owners complained that the price fixing robbed them of the chance to compete with large corporations.
Few African Americans got any benefit because the wage codes excluded agricultural and domestic workers.
Few regretted the demise of the NRA when it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935.
Despite being declared unconstitutional, some NRA policies remained in place.
New workplace standards, such as the forty- hour workweek, a national minimum wage, and restrictions that ended child labor were part of the NRA legacy.
The growth of unions was spurred by its endorsement of collective bargaining.
Industrial recovery was still weak as 1934 ended.
Franklin Roosevelt created the Farm Credit Administration to help farmers deal with their debts and lower their mortgage payments to avoid bankruptcy.
The money came from a tax on businesses that processed food crops and certain agricultural commodities.
The spring planting season was under way by the time theAAA was created.
Farmers were paid to plow under the sprouted seeds in their fields because of the prospect of a bumper cotton crop.
To destroy a crop was a commentary on our civilization.
6 million baby pigs were slaughtered and buried to raise pork prices.
By the end of 1934, the efforts had been made.
Prices for wheat, cotton, and corn had gone up.
Between 1932 and 1935 farm income increased by 58 percent.
The president had become the most popular man in the nation despite the fact that journalists characterized the New Deal programs as "alphabet soup."
Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma were the hardest hit.
Crops withered and income plummeted because of the lack of rain.
Black blizzards, which engulfed farms and towns, were caused by strong winds that swept across the treeless plains.
More than 25 million acres of prairie land was disap peared by the year 1938.
Banks foreclosed on family farms when farmers couldn't pay their debts.
Millions of people abandoned their farms and headed to California, where jobs were plentiful.
Most of the Dust Bowl refugees were from Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
Whites headed to the Far West in the 1930s and 1940s.
Without money to pay rent or a mortgage, homeless migrants set up squat ter camps, often called Little Oklahomas, where they could get food and supplies.
The migrants moved on to the next crop, carrying their belongings with them.
Most of them went to California's urban areas.
The San Joaquin Valley is the state's cultural heartland.
California was not a paradise.
Most had to work on farms.
They lived in tents or cabins because of exposure to the elements, poor sanitary conditions, and social abuse.
The economy and quality of life in the southern states have been lagging behind the rest of the nation since the end of the Civil War.
During the Great Depression, the gap only widened.
The "Great Lakes of the South" in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Caro lina, Georgia, and Alabama were created by twenty- one hydroelectric dams constructed by the TVA.
The massive dam in Tennessee was completed in 1936 and was essential in creating jobs and expanding libraries.
The TVA provided 1.5 million iso- electricity.
The First New Deal programs gave Americans a renewed faith in the future.
The Democrats increased their majority in Congress in 1934.
Eleanor was one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century and one of the reasons for FDR's popularity.
The First Lady has never been so popular.
She was her husband's moral compass and he was forced to support his political ambitions and policies.
Eleanor married Franklin in 1905, only to learn that his mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, would always be the most important woman in his life.
Eleanor wrote later that he might have been happier with a wife who was uncritical.
From an early age, Eleanor was dedicated to humanitarian causes.
She was a member of the International Congress of Working Women and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom after the Great War.
She joined the League of Women Voters.
A political figure is intelligent, voiceless, and hope to the principled.
Her compassion resulted her own right, she is pictured here in large part from the self-doubt and addressing the Red Cross Convention.
She fought a paralyzing fear of being ignored.
While unpacking Franklin's suitcase after he returned from a trip, Elea discovered love letters he had exchanged with Lucy Mercer, her friend and personal secretary.
The bottom dropped out of Eleanor's world as she read the letters.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth was the daughter of Theo dore Roosevelt and Eleanor's cousin.
Franklin knew that Eleanor's offer of a divorce would end his political future since divorce was not accepted at the time.
They decided to keep their marriage as a political partnership.
James said that the relationship became more of a merger than a marriage.
Eleanor said that she could give, but never forget.
Franklin and Eleanor acknowledged their inability to provide happiness, but they were still concerned for each other.
They lived apart in the White House and rarely saw each other.
Eleanor compensated for her cooled relationship with Franklin by nurturing a life of her own and forming special friendships with men and women.
Earl Miller was Franklin's bodyguard when she was governor of New York.
She was coached in swimming, target shooting, and horseback riding.
James described the relationship as possibly the "one real romance in mother's life outside of marriage," saying that Miller encouraged her to be herself.
Eleanor wore an emerald ring Hick had given her as proof of their special relationship after they fell in love.
Hickok quit her job to become Eleanor's traveling companion.
They wrote more than 3000 letters when they were apart.
One night, Eleanor wrote Hick, "I wish I could lie down beside you tonight and take you in my arms."
Eleanor convinced Hick to move into the White House after becoming so enamored with her.
During the summer of 1933, Elea nor and Hick drove around New England in a blue convertible and showed up without reservations.
Hickok and Roosevelt walk side by side during an inspection trip to Puerto Rico.
She spoke in support of the New Deal, met with African American leaders, supported equal access for women in the workforce, and urged Americans to live up to their humanitarian ideals.
She helped convince her husband to reverse the policy of segregation.
Eleanor hosted a White House conference on emergency needs of women in 1933.
300,000 women were working on federal government projects in six months.
He was dependent on his wife.
A group of people from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration are at a camp for women in Arcola, Pennsylvania.
Franklin Roosevelt became the most hated presi dent of the twentieth century by 1934.
He was loved because he fought for the people.
Roosevelt, with his arched eyebrows, upturned chin, and twinkling eyes, had a self- assurance bordering on arrogance.
Roosevelt was the most accessible of the U.S. presidents.
Twice a week he held press conferences, explaining new legislation, addressing questions and criticisms, and winning over most journalists while befuddling his opponents.
One of Roosevelt's harshest critics, a Democratic senator from Louisiana, complained that the president could charm a snake.
Roosevelt's charm had its limits.
He was disliked by business leaders and political conservatives because they believed the New Deal was moving America toward socialism.
They hated him for not doing enough to end the Depression.
The New Deal programs slowed the economy's downward slide, but prosperity remained elusive.
The leader of the farm said they have been patient.
We were promised a new deal.
The differing opinions of Roosevelt reflected his personality and management style.
He was both a man of idealistic principles and a politician who was prone to snap judgments.
He admitted to an aide that he had to leave false impressions to implement the New Deal.
Economic growth during FDR's first term averaged 9 percent, but extensive suffering persisted.
The unemployment rate was 17 percent as late as 1939.
There wasn't a New Deal for immigrants.
The Great Depression provoked anti- immigration feelings.
The Depression was blamed on immigration by a powerful Democrat.
He viewed immigration as the nation's greatest threat.
He argued that there was no middle ground on the issue.
Either we are for or against America.
The New York City district was filled with immigrants from Italy and Puerto Rico and was opposed to by the congressman's son.
He told the House of Representatives to legislate with common sense.
Franklin Roosevelt failed to speak out on the issue because of his opposition to anti- immigrant bil s. He didn't want to take political risks by protecting immigrants.
There were blind spots in the New Deal.
Most people assumed that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was progressive on social issues.
As black voters were shifting from the Republicans to the Democrats, FDR showed little interest in the plight of African Americans.
He failed to address long standing patterns of racism and segregation in the South for fear of angering conservative southern Democrats in Congress.
Many New Deal programs discriminated against African Americans.
Both the TVA and the CCC practiced racial segregation within their facilities, and the FHA refused to guarantee mortgages on houses purchased by blacks in white neighborhoods.
The NAACP waged an energetic campaign against racial prejudice throughout the 1930s, as did Eleanor Roosevelt, and the president did appoint more African Americans to significant government positions than had any of his predecessors.
The elusiveness of the "American dream" for many minorities is captured in Margaret White's famous 1937 photograph of desperate people waiting in a disaster relief line.
The National Youth Administration was established in 1935 to provide jobs to unemployed young Americans.
An informal "Black Cabinet" was formed to ensure that African Americans had equal access to federal programs.