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Great Depression: First New Deal (1933-1934)

The Galloping Snail in the 'First Hundred Days'

This cartoon from the Detroit News, March 1933, shows President Roosevelt urging a slow Congress to pass his New Deal programs in his first one hundred days.
F.D. ROOSEVELT CARTOON. - "The Galloping Snail": Cartoon By Burt Thomas For The Detroit "News", March 1933, Showing President Roosevelt Urging A Slow Congress To Pass His New Deal Programs In His First One Hundred Days.. Fine Art. Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 14 Jan 2012.

FDR's Alphabet Soup

During the first 100 days of FDR's presidency, Congress enacted 15 key programs, part of Roosevelt's New Deal.

Often called the "alphabet soup" of agencies, here are ones in FDR's "First Hundred Days."

1933-1934 Legislation

  • CWA - Civil Works Administration (1933-1934 only) under Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA)
  • FHA - Federal Housing Act - creates the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • SEA - Securities and Exchange Act - creates the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • FCA - Federal Communications Act - creates the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • GRA - Gold Reserve Act
  • NLRB - National Labor Relations Board - by Executive Order
  • FMRA - Farm Mortgage Refinancing Act

Classroom Video New Deal

First New Deal Timeline

March 9, 1933
Emergency Banking Relief Act (EBRA)

(aka Emergency Banking Act)

Purpose: "The Emergency Banking Relief Act allowed banks to close down and to reopen banks that were strong enough to survive. The bill also gave the Secretary of the Treasury the right to confiscate the gold of private citizens, in exchange for an equivalent amount of paper currency which was subject to later devaluation in relation to gold." It gave the president power over the banks.</sp

March 22, 1933
Beer and Wine Revenue Act (BWRA)

Purpose: The Beer and Wine Revenue Act "amended the Volstead Act of 1919 to legalize the sale of wine and beer that contained no more the 3.2 percent alcohol."

March 10, 1933
Economy Act (EA)
Purpose: "The Economy Act reduced the salaries of federal employees by 15 percent, and forced veterans to forgo part of their war benefits. It also reorganized several government agencies in hopes of maximizing their cost efficiency."

March 31, 1933
"Civilian Conservation Corps" Reforestation Relief Act (by executive order)

(Existed 1933-1942)

Purpose: "The Reforestation Relief Act, establish[ed] jobs for 250,000 young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). By the program’s end in 1941, 2 million people [had] worked on CCC projects."

May 12, 1933
Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA)

Purpose: Congress passed The Federal Emergency Relief Act which "created The Federal Emergency Relief Administration. It was given a start-up fund of $500 million to help the needy and unemployed.

Direct aid was given to the states, which funneled funds through local agencies such as home relief bureaus, and welfare departments. The money was intended to help the people most affected by the Depression. It paid for work completed, food, and clothing."
May 12, 1933
Emergency Farm Mortgage Act (EFMA)

Purpose: "The Emergency Farm Mortgage Act attempted to save the farms of individuals delinquent on their loans by extending repayment schedules and offering emergency financing."

May 13, 1933
Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA)

(Supreme Court overturned in 1935)

Purpose: The Agricultural Adjustment Act was "designed to raise farm prices by cash subsidies or rental payments inexchange for reducing crop growth (cotton, wheat, corn), and dairy products such as milk and butter. It also paid them not to raise pigs or lambs."

"The money to pay the farmers for cutting back their production was raised by putting a tax on the companies that bought the farm products and processed them into food and clothing."
May 18, 1933
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

Purpose: FDR had asked Congress to create “a corporation clothed with the power of government but possessed of the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise.”

Congress complied and passed the TVA Act which established an "independent public corporation authorized to construct dams and power plants to develop the economic and social well-being of the Tennessee Valley region."

May 27, 1933
Securities Act (SA)

(aka Federal Securities Act)

Purpose: "The Securities Act had two main goals: (1) to ensure more transparency in financial statements so investors can make informed decisions about investments, and (2) to establish laws against misrepresentation and fraudulent activities in the securities markets."

"Required full disclosure to investors of new securities such as stocks, bonds, and treasuries."

June 6, 1933
National Employment Service (NES)

(Wagner-Peyser Act)

Purpose: "Intended to help coordinate job searches between Federal and state governments."

June 13, 1933
Home Owners' Loan Act (HOLA)

(aka Home Owners' Refinancing Act or Home Owners' Loan Corporation Act)

Purpose: The Home Owners' Loan [Act] Corporation was established "to help families prevent loss of their homes through mortgage foreclosure."

June 16, 1933
Banking Act (BA)

Purpose: The Banking Act (aka Glass-Steagall Act) established the FDIC as a temporary agency "It separated commercial banking from investment banking, establishing them as separate lines of commerce."

President Roosevelt signed the act "to raise the confidence of the U.S. public in the banking system by alleviating the disruptions caused by bank failures and bank runs."
June 16, 1933
Farm Credit Act (FCA)

Purpose: Creates the Farm Credit Administration.

"The Farm Credit Act established the Farm Credit System (FCS) as a group of cooperative lending institutions to provide short-, intermediate-, and long-term loans for agricultural purposes."
June 16, 1933
National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)

Purpose: Creates the National Recovery Administration (NRA).

President Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) because he “sought to assist the nation's economic recovery during the Great Depression.

The passage of NIRA ushered in a unique experiment in U.S. economic history—the NIRA sanctioned, supported, and in some cases, enforced an alliance of industries.
June 16, 1933
Public Works Administration (PWA)

Purpose: The Public Works Administration "budgeted several billion dollars to spend on the construction of public works as a means of providing employment, stabilizing purchasing power, improving public welfare, and contributing to a revival of American was designed to spend 'big bucks on big projects.'"

June 16, 1933
Emergency Railroad Transportation Act (ERTA)

Purpose: The ERTA "investigated railroad labor conditions and helped the railroad industry to reduce duplicate services and facilities, eliminate practices impairing net earnings, and accomplish financial reorganization."