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This short documentary overviews the Civilian Conservation Corps, the New Deal's first relief program. It focuses on the experiences, both positive and negative, of the nearly 3,000,000 "soil soldiers" who labored in CCC camps.

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Item Type: Documentary
Date: 2009

In his first year in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was wary of running a budget deficit. Consequently many early New Deal programs attempted to create temporary (rather than permanent) direct aid programs and to bring government planners, business and labor leaders together to create regulations. However, unemployment remained high and…

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Item Type: Timeline
Date: 1934

During his first two years in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress passed programs intended to provide temporary but immediate relief to those who were struggling and restore confidence in the banks. Roosevelt’s critics demanded he keep a balanced budget, so he was unwilling to spend more money than the government took in…

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Item Type: Timeline
Date: 1934

The sign on this car is addressed to the head of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), which developed electrical infrastructure (power lines, hydroelectric dams) and cooperatives for farmers to buy electricity and electric appliances. Only about 10% of rural Americans had electric power in the early 1930s, compared to 90% of urban Americans. …

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1938

Conservative critics of the New Deal disliked the new regulations on businesses and feared the long-term consequences of deficit spending, which they likened to socialism and the end of freedom. Some also expressed nativist or racist feelings that government programs helped people who weren’t “real Americans” and raised…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1937

President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave this speech in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention in 1936, at which he was nominated for a second term. In it, he explained why New Deal reforms and spending programs were necessary. Roosevelt likened the 1930s struggle with monopolists and big business “tyrants” to the…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1936

The unemployment rate rose sharply during the Great Depression and reached its peak at the moment Franklin D. Roosevelt took office. As New Deal programs were enacted, the unemployment rate gradually lowered. Virtually full employment was achieved during World War II. This graph does not indicate the numbers of people were…

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Item Type: Quantitative Data
Date: 1975

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt entered office in 1933, unemployment hovered around 25%. The private sector, including factories and service industries, remained mired in an intractable depression: no one was spending money and no one was hiring. Proponents of federal spending argued that only the government had the spending power to…

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Item Type: Quantitative Data
Date: 2010

African Americans recognized that New Deal programs offered the best opportunity since Reconstruction to improve the incomes, skills, education and housing conditions for the black community. However, as organizations like the National Urban League and the NAACP noted, racist administrators on the local level or indifferent managers at the federal…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1941

One of the most enduring images of the Depression is a portrait of a woman and her children in a California migrant labor camp. Taken by FSA photographer Dorothea Lange, it was one of a series of six photographs that Lange shot on a rainy afternoon in March 1936.

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1936