Programs created during the First Hundred Days:
Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) (Enacted May 12, 1933)—Considered the first modern U.S. Farm Bill, the AAA restricted agricultural production by paying farmers to produce fewer crops. The belief was that this would cut down on the surplus that was driving down crop prices. The money used to pay the farmers came from an exclusive tax on companies that processed farm products. This tax would be declared unconstitutional in 1936. The act also created the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to distribute the benefit payments to participating farmers.
Banking Act of 1933 (Enacted June 16, 1933)—Commonly referred to as the (Second) Glass-Steagall Act after the two congressmen who led in its development, Senator Carter Glass (D-VA) and Representative Henry B. Steagall (D-AL), this act established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and included banking reform measures. The act provided initial funds to the FDIC, allowed the agency to insure federal deposits and the authority to supervise and regulate nonmember banks. It also extended federal oversight to all commercial banks for the first time, separated commercial and investment banking for the first time, and prohibited banks from paying interest on checking accounts.
Beer-Wine Revenue Act (Enacted March 22, 1933)—This act legalized the production, sale and consumption of beer and wine with up to 3.2% alcohol by volume and put a tax on it.
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)—established as a public work relief program for unemployed men, it provided vocational training through work related to conservation and useful public works jobs. Initially created for young men, ages 18-24, it was extended to men of all ages as a way to appease unemployed war veterans. CCC members enrolled for six month periods during which they lived in military-style barracks and received free food, clothing and medical care. In addition, they received a salary of $1 per day of which $22-25 was sent home to assist their family or dependents. One of the most popular programs in the New Deal it was active until 1942.
Emergency Banking Relief Act (Enacted March 9, 1933)—This act legalized FDR’s declaration of a bank holiday and allowed for a plan that would close insolvent banks and reorganize and reopen banks strong enough to survive. The act was seen as a temporary solution to a very serious problem and the Banking Act of 1933 was seen as providing more long-term solutions.
Federal Emergency Relief Act (Enacted May 12th, 1933)—This act was the first direct-relief operation under the new deal and created the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), similar to Hoover’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The act, spearheaded by a close FDR adviser and New York social worker, Harry L. Hopkins, provided state assistance to the unemployed and their families totaling $3.1 billion dollars between 1933 and 1935. The money went towards direct relief and funding for local relief and transient programs. In 1935 FERA was terminated and its work was taken over by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Social Security Board.
Federal Securities Act (Enacted May 27, 1933) This act requires that investors receive significant information regarding securities being offered up for public sale and prohibits deceit, misrepresentation and other fraud in the sale of securities to the public. The act is meant to foster fair dealings in the securities markets by requiring disclosure of significant information about the issuer and the terms of the securities.
Government Economy Act (Enacted March 20, 1933)—In an effort to follow through on FDR’s campaign promise to balance the budget, this act cut $243 million from the federal budget by reducing the salaries of federal employees and slashing veterans benefits by half.
Homeowners Refinancing Act (Enacted June 13, 1933)—This act established the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLA) which refinanced homes to prevent foreclosures. It extended loans on non-farm homes from shorter to longer terms, usually 20-25 years.
Wagner-Peyser Act (Enacted June 6, 1933)—This act reestablished the U.S. Employment Service (USES) as part of the Department of Labor in order to develop a national system of public employment offices, distribute employment opportunity information and maintain a system for clearing labor among the states.
National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) (Enacted on June 16, 1933)—NIRA focused on industry recovery and led to the creation of the Public Works Administration (PWA) and National Recovery Administration (NRA). It promoted fair competition, ensured rights to trade unions, allowed for regulation of working standards and regulated the price and transportation of certain petroleum products. The act also gave the President authority to permit cartels and monopolies in order to stimulate economic growth. It was largely considered a failure of policy and aspects of it were ruled unconstitutional in 1935. There is still debate over why it failed.
National Recovery Administration (NRA)—established under NIRA, it allowed industries to create codes of fair competition and collectively set floor prices for their products. Additionally, it helped workers by setting minimum wages and maximum weekly hours. Participating businesses in this voluntary program displayed the NRA blue eagle symbol in their windows. It was extremely popular among workers.
Public Works Administration (PWA)—created under NIRA and headed by the Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes, the agency spend $3.3 billion dollars on public works to provide employment, improve public welfare and assist in revitalizing American Industry.
Reforestation Relief Act (Enacted March 31, 1933)—This act establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) (Enacted May 18, 1933)—This government established corporation was created to improve navigability of rivers, provide flood control, reforest marginal farmlands, provide energy, as well as agricultural and industrial development to the Tennessee Valley, which was especially hard hit by the Depression.. Its congressional charter allowed TVA to become both a power supplier and regulator.
86th Street: Area of New York City on the Upper East Side. During the Depression, the neighborhood contained primarily German-Americans, and featured many prominent churches, such as St. Mark’s, and German-American places of business.
Binga State Bank: A bank for African Americans in Illinois. As most of the African American community in Chicago entrusted its savings there, the bank’s collapse in 1931 led to a significant collective loss.
Brain Trust: Nickname for FDR’s inner circle in 1932 (originally referred to as Brains Trust). They were primarily advisors from academic backgrounds, especially out of Columbia Law School.
Century of Progress: Theme for the 1933 World’s fair. Title comes from the hundredth anniversary of the World’s fair in the United States.
Company Union: Organization of workers isolated to within the company. It is the opposite of a trade union since the company still sets wages and the union cannot dispute the labor practices.
The Defender: African American newspaper, based primarily out of Chicago, but also had branches throughout the United States. For black people, both in the north and south, it was often the only means of keeping upraised of violence and racist acts against African Americans.
Dole: British term for welfare program.
Eugene Talmadge: Democratic Governer of Georgia, a major critic of the New Deal.
Frances Perkins: Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor, the first female cabinet member. Her input led to many public works programs being incorporated into New Deal legislation.
Free Silver: Advocating Bimetallism, or treating silver currency the same way as gold. The issue first arose in the late 19th century with more rural areas in support of silver. The movement mostly deflated with the decline in the Populist party’s influence, but reverberations could be felt in FDR’s decision to devalue gold currency in 1933.
German American Bund: German-American nationalist group. During the Depression years, it organized parades and rallies, both to support the Nazis and to advocate for their candidates in local office. Often at odds with other ethnic organizations in New York City, especially when New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia revoked their permit to hold a German Day parade. Jewish groups and anti-fascist groups would hold counter rallies in New York in places like Madison Square Garden.
Gold Diggers of 1933: Musical film, actress/singer/dancer Ginger Roger’s breakout role. Known for its song “We’re in the Money”.
Gramophone Audio-playing device, also known as the record-player.
Green Lake State Park: Site in upstate New York where members of the Civilian Conservation Corps would live and work to build cabins, golf courses and trails. Established for public works by the Hoover administration under FERA, it was one of the first parks to host a CCC project.
Herbert Hoover: FDR’s predecessor as U.S. President. Felt businesses and community assistance were best equipped to help Americans recover from the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression.
Little Orphan Annie: Popular comic strip heroine who finds a home with Daddy Warbucks. Her unmistakable yellow eyes and red dress became an iconic image on many products, such as dolls, books and toys.
Mae West: Brazen comedic actress and pinup of the 1930s. Known for her overt sexuality in a time when most movie starlets were more innocent and demure.
Old Right:American conservatives who were opposed to FDR’s major domestic and foreign policies, especially the New Deal.
Plaza Hotel: Posh uptown Manhattan Hotel, known for its restaurants, such as Palm Court.
Poll Taxes: Fees levied by state voting centers when individuals would attempt to cast their ballots in elections. While not explicitly denying African Americans their voting rights en masse, the measure would prevent those too poor to pay from voting.
Popeye: A cartoon sailor, known for staying strong and tough by eating spinach.
Redistricting The act of carving out voting areas so that some neighborhoods fall under different representation than others. Often used to create a more favorable ethnic makeup for a district, and could lead to discrepancies between neighborhoods.
The Rockettes: Chorus line for the show that would ultimately find a permanent home at Radio City Music Hall in 1932. They were inspired by the Ziegfeld Follies, a vaudville show on Broadway that ran between 1907 and 1931. Known for their impossibly high kicks, the show acted as a form of escapism during the Depression.
Scottsboro Boys: 9 African American young men accused in 1931 of assaulting two white woman while hitching a ride on a train in Scottsboro, Alabama. An all-white jury convicted them several times during the 1930s on little evidence and questionable witnesses. The case became a legal precedent that scholars of the law continue to reference.
Selling Apples: The act of sitting on a street corner hoping to make some money with a box of apples. Many who were out of work tried to earn a wage through boxes of apples.
Simeon D. Fess:Republican who served in Congress until 1936.
South Side of Chicago: area of Chicago, Illinois, also known as the “Black Belt”, where 90% of Chicago’s African American population lived. It was from there that African American steel workers would have to commute to their factories and plants.
South Works: A Steel Plant owned by U.S. Steel in Southeast Chicago that employed African Americans; the site of union organization and racial tension.
Speakeasy: underground site for covert drinking and other illicit activities once Prohibition came into effect.
The Lone Ranger, The Shadow: Two radio programs featuring heroes who fought injustice. The Lone Ranger did so from 1933 to 1954 in the Old West with his horse, Silver, and his sidekick, Tonto. The Shadow, whose program run between 1930 and 1954 was a darker figure, who used his powers of the mind to go after criminals.
Thomas H. Cullen: U.S. Congressman between 1932 and 1944 for a district in New York.
Three Little Pigs: Fable about responsibility that was adapted into a short animated film by Walt Disney in 1933. Many interpreted the film as an allegory for the Depression, the New Deal, and the plight of the American farmer, with varying perspectives on who the wolf and the pigs were supposed to represent.
William H. Woodin: : FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury in 1933. Instrumental in New Deal maneuvers such as the Bank Holiday.
William Jennings Bryan: Political figure who was at the forefront of the Populist movement in the 1896 Presidential Election. Early proponent of Free Silver, known for his “Cross of Gold” speech, and later arguing for the religious fundamentalists in the “Scopes Monkey Trial” of 1925.
Wizard of Oz: Late 19th century novel by L. Frank Baum about a young girl who travels to a strange land. Interpreted by some as an allegory for the Free Silver movement