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WPA Approved by Congress
President Franklin Roosevelt proposed the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression of the 1930s when almost 25 percent of Americans were unemployed. Approved by Congress on April 8, 1935, the WPA created low-paying federal jobs to provide immediate relief. The WPA put 8.5 million jobless to work on projects as diverse as constructing highways, bridges and public buildings to arts programs like the Federal Writers’ Project. This photograph, taken in El Cerrito, San Miguel County, New Mexico, shows WPA laborers at work on a road project.

Photo: National Archives

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This Day in the Yesteryear: THE WPA IS ESTABLISHED (1935) Will we have to wait till 2035 for a new deal?


The WPA Is Established (1935)

Part of US President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program, the Works Progress—later Projects—Administration aimed to stimulate the economy during the Great Depression and preserve the skills and self-respect of unemployed persons by providing them useful work. By the time it was terminated in 1943, the WPA had employed 8.5 million people and funded the construction of roads, buildings, bridges, parks, and airports—as well as the production of art. What did critics pejoratively call the WPA? More… Discuss

Published on Apr 17, 2012

As President Roosevelt presides over the creation of new federal agencies to combat the effects of the Depression, nowhere is the effect of new public works projects more apparent than in Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia‘s New York City. Though FDR, the American aristocrat, and LaGuardia, the son of immigrants, are unlikely partners, together they expand and redefine the role of government in people’s lives.

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