Unemployment and Relief Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Today, most American communities having any age to them can be shown to have been beneficiaries of Roosevelt's “New Deal for the American people,” as the president referred to his program in his inaugural speech of March 1933. In attacking the great problem of unemployment in the 1930s, the New Deal took hungry, desperate men (for the most part) and put them to work. Through programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration, roads were built, buildings were erected, National Parks were improved, the electrical grid was extended, and towns, cities, and neighborhoods everywhere were transformed. Many of the young men (and women) who worked on these projects would later form the core of the US military in its battle against aggression in Europe and Asia.

Today, most American communities having any age to them can be shown to have been beneficiaries of Roosevelt's “New Deal for the American people,” as the president referred to his program in his inaugural speech of March 1933. In attacking the great problem of unemployment in the 1930s, the New Deal took hungry, desperate men (for the most part) and put them to work. Through programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration, roads were built, buildings were erected, National Parks were improved, the electrical grid was extended, and towns, cities, and neighborhoods everywhere were transformed. Many of the young men (and women) who worked on these projects would later form the core of the US military in its battle against aggression in Europe and Asia.

Many other long-term benefits derived from the New Deal, as well. Social Security, for example, was launched under the Roosevelt Administration. It provided for the basic economic welfare of retirees and those unable to contribute directly to the economy. New Deal banking legislation guaranteed deposits up to $100,000 in FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) banks–a valuable measure in light of the bank closures that took place after the 1929 stock market crash. Not only were entire communities built (under the Resettlement Administration), but hundreds of existing communities were beautified or otherwise exposed to the arts (through the Federal Arts Project). Murals were painted, theatrical productions were mounted, oral histories were recorded, valuable documentary photographs were taken, and so on.

Above all, people were able to obtain food, clothing, and housing to meet their immediate needs. In other words, people's lives were transformed along with their communities under the New Deal.

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