During the Great Depression, one in every four American workers was unemployed. Within weeks of his inauguration, President Roosevelt sent legislation to Congress to provide employment opportunities for the unemployed population. In the first few weeks between election and inauguration, the president traveled, planned, and assembled like-minded individuals from experts and the Brain Trust of academies to formulate a new plan (Wright & Joseph 642). From like-minded individuals, the president devised a plan to successfully advocate legislation to minimize child labor use and enhance workplace safety (Wright & Joseph 641). President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a work relief program, was an opportunity for millions of young and unemployed Americans in the 1930s. Roosevelt introduced the first comprehensive program aimed at helping pioneer efforts to expand public utilities (Wright & Joseph 641). The CCC was both a job creation plan and natural resource conservation.
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If not for the president’s plan to stabilize the economy against the economic crisis, the millions of unemployed Americans would have suffered to the point of death. According to Robert Stone (n.p), the stock markets were down by 90 percent from the Great Depression, and the people were angry enough to consider a revolution in the United States. In March 1933, the first step by the president was to focus on relief for the suffering Americans. In the first one hundred days, the CCC employed young men on reforestation and conservation projects with the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), providing financial support to state relief agencies (Wright & Joseph 643). The president’s new deal between the public and the government was a perfect match between crisis and the people and helped redefine what the people owed each other.
The CCC was very close to the president’s heart and focused on work, which he believed was more important than relief. The CCC was the first of the many programs, among them the Work Progress Administration (WPA), Rural Electrification Administration, and TVA Electricity for all, which the president put a lot of effort into designing (Stone n.p). At the heart of the recovery program, President Roosevelt’s effort stabilized and coordinated the American economy through the National Recovery Administration (NRA) and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) (Wright & Joseph 643). The New Deal was an alternative plan to put the people back to work even if the economy would not.
The efforts by the New Deal were fundamental in how the New Deal reshaped the country. The Public Works Administration (PWA), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), and the WPA ensured the people worked on projects designed by the local governments to reshape the country (Wright & Joseph 643). The federal government received grants-in-aid, which warranted tangible projects for the people in jobs associated with tunnels, bridges, libraries, infrastructure, and public housing reconstruction (Wright & Joseph 643). Over the coming decade, the government employed over three million individuals whose responsibilities ranged from planting trees, fighting fires, creating flood barriers, and building trails and roads (Stone n.p). The move by the president was pivotal in national service and modern environmentalism in the U.S.
The implementation of the CCC was fast and effective and remains unmatched to date. In three months since its inception, the CCC had more than 250,000 employees in camps (Stone n.p). Each worker received a monthly payment of $30 for their services, and they were required to send between $22 and $25 to support their families (Stone n.p). Based on its aim, the CCC received support from the public; however, during its tenure were criticisms where Trade Unions feared the CCC could result in labor regimentation and control.
Stone, Robert. Civilian Conservation Corps. 2015. Web.
Wright, Ben, and Joseph L. Locke. The American Yawp: a Massively Collaborative Open U.s. History Textbook, Vol. 1: to 1877. , 2019.
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