Roosevelts New Deal:
A Humorous Look at the W.P.A.

Franklin Delano Roosevelts New Deal was a federal bailout program intended to help desperate U.S.citizens find work.




Hard times fell upon the Herbert Hoover administration in the late 1920's. There were fewer and fewer jobs and a great financial depression descended upon the U.S.A.

People were indeed desperate, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, governor of New York State, was elected to the presidency of the country.

There were a lot of mixed feelings about the causes of this depression and what should be done about it. I'm sure that not all of it was Herbert Hoover's fault. He had gained popularity earlier in his career, but quickly lost that popularity when the country fell upon hard times.

FDR and The New Deal

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Roosevelt's New Deal, WPA workers

Roosevelt was roundly criticized for many of his attempts to alter the social order of our great country, and indeed, many of his programs were declared by the courts a bit later as unconstitutional.

But one of his most controversial programs was the W.P.A. (standing for Works Progress Administration). It did put a lot of people to work, at a somewhat passable salary, at a time when jobs were scarce.

The various projects that were delegated to the WPA included ditch digging, work on trails and walkways in State Parks and in some National Parks, menial highway jobs, such as were done by hand, and perhaps some work on bridges.
The pick and the shovel were standard tools.


What Were the Results of Roosevelts New Deal?



Most of the work of the W.P.A. involved pick and shovel, and although it helped many people, there were some who latched on to this "bonanza" who had never had an honest job in their life, and got by with just as little effort as they possibly could.



I am certain that for many folk, the dignity of a productive job was embraced, and they were thankful for the money for food and the expenses of their households. But, sad to say, many didn't care how much production they gave and the projects were often poorly planned and supervised.

Works Progress Administration:
The Nicknames

Thus, in the course of time, many humorous stories began to circulate about the W.P.A.

The W.P.A. project was called "WE PLAY AROUND" and
"WE PIDDLE AROUND". Some of this was just humor, but the characterizations were not completely inaccurate.

As the stories began to circulate about the typical WPA worker leaning on his shovel, it was just the beginning trickle of the flood of jokes and stories that followed.

Click here to read some of these stories about the Works Progress Administration .

Word began to spread that Roosevelts New Deal perhaps wasn't such a good deal after all!



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