What’s the Big Deal about the New Deal?
On March 4, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States of America. Known simply as FDR, he became president during one of the darkest times in our country’s history. The nation’s economy had collapsed, banks had locked their doors, farmers were losing their land, families were going hungry and 14 million Americans were unemployed. Many thought that the end of democracy and the United States was near.
President Roosevelt began his legacy by declaring a four-day “bank holiday” on March 9, 1933. What followed over the next six years was the amazing economic and social transformation called “The New Deal.” FDR created more than 40 national programs between 1933 and 1939 to battle issues facing the country. Many of the New Deal policies were shaped by the president’s time spent in rural Georgia, in the community of Warm Springs.
Georgia benefited greatly from the programs, but four were of major significance: the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), the Work Progress Administration (WPA), the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) and Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). The CCC and WPA built or worked on more than a dozen of the current 63 state parks and historic sites in Georgia. The Rural Electrification Administration was ground-breaking because it brought electricity to rural households. In 1933, only 1 in every 10 rural homes had electricity, at a cost more than four times as much as in the cities! The Agricultural Adjustment Administration set prices to provide immediate relief to farmers. This program led to the Farm Credit Administration, which refinanced mortgages so farmers could stop foreclosures and continue growing food for Americans.