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The Hundred Days March – June 1933

The crisis of the Great Depression demanded action. During his 1932 presidential campaign, Franklin D. Roosevelt advised: “Take a method and try it. If it fails . . . try another. But above all, try something.” When Congress convened on March 9, 1933, it joined President Roosevelt in a flurry of legislation to restore America’s confidence and prosperity.

On the first day, Congress passed, and the president signed, emergency banking relief. In the weeks ahead, senators and representatives approved bills creating public-works jobs, insuring bank deposits, refinancing home and farm mortgages, reorganizing railroads, stabilizing prices and wages, establishing power plants and flood control projects, and helping farmers sell surplus crops. The session lasted 100 days—a creative burst of energy that initiated economic recovery and established a more activist role for the federal government.

"Take a method and try it. If it fails ... try another. But above all, try something."
— President Franklin D. Roosevelt, May 22, 1932

  • Work with Care, by Nathan Sherman, 1936

    Workplace safety posters sponsored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) were an example of federal support for the arts.

    Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

  • In 1935, Congress provided $1.4 billion to fund WPA projects, such as construction of prefabricated buildings, intended to create more permanent employment.

    In 1935, Congress provided $1.4 billion to fund WPA projects, such as construction of prefabricated buildings, intended to create more permanent employment.

    Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

     

  • New Deal Noodles, 1936

    This book provides a satirical look at the numerous "alphabet" agencies (CCC, WPA, TVA) initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and passed by Congress to create jobs and revive confidence in the economy.

    Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Behring Centert

    CCC Worker’s Hat and Patch, 1939

    The public-works agency known as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) put more than three million male youths and adults to work during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Behring Center