Public Works Administration (PWA), part of the New Deal of 1933, was a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act in June 1933 in response to the Great Depression. It built large-scale public works such as dams, bridges, hospitals, and schools. Its goals were to spend $3.3 billion in the first year, and $6 billion in all, to provide employment, stabilize purchasing power, and help revive the economy. Most of the spending came in two waves in 1933–35, and again in 1938. Originally called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, it was renamed the Public Works Administration in 1935 and shut down in 1944.
The PWA spent over $7 billion in contracts to private construction firms that did the actual work. It created an infrastructure that generated national and local pride in the 1930s and remains vital eight decades later. The PWA was much less controversial than its rival agency with a confusingly similar name, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), headed by Harry Hopkins, which focused on smaller projects and hired unemployed unskilled workers.
Frances Perkins had first suggested a federally financed public works program, and the idea received considerable support from Harold L. Ickes, James Farley, and Henry Wallace. After having scaled back the initial cost of the PWA, Franklin Delano Roosevelt agreed to include the PWA as part of his New Deal proposals in the "Hundred Days" of spring 1933.
The PWA headquarters in Washington planned projects, which were built by private construction companies hiring workers on the open market. Unlike the WPA, it did not hire the unemployed directly. More than any other New Deal program, the PWA epitomized the progressive notion of "priming the pump" to encourage economic recovery. Between July 1933 and March 1939, the PWA funded and administered the construction of more than 34,000 projects including airports, large electricity-generating dams, major warships for the Navy, and bridges and 70% of the new schools and one-third of the hospitals built-in 1933–1939.
Streets and highways were the most common PWA projects, as 11,428 road projects, or 33% of all PWA projects, accounting for over 15% of its total budget. School buildings, 7,488 in all, came in second at 14% of spending. PWA functioned chiefly by making allotments to the various Federal agencies; making loans and grants to state and other public bodies; and making loans without grants (for a brief time) to the railroads. For example, it provided funds for the Indian Division of the CCC to build roads, bridges, and other public works on and near Indian reservations.
The PWA became, with its "multiplier-effect" and a first two-year budget of $3.3 billion (compared to the entire GDP of $60 billion), the driving force of America's biggest construction effort up to that date. By June 1934, the agency had distributed its entire fund to 13,266 federal projects and 2,407 non-federal projects. For every worker on a PWA project, almost two additional workers were employed indirectly. The PWA accomplished the electrification of rural America, the building of canals, tunnels, bridges, highways, streets, sewage systems, and housing areas, as well as hospitals, schools, and universities; every year it consumed roughly half of the concrete and a third of the steel of the entire nation.The PWA also electrified the Pennsylvania Railroad between New York and Washington, DC. At the local level it built courthouses, schools, hospitals and other public facilities that remain in use in the 21st century.
The PWA was the centerpiece of the New Deal program for building public housing for the poor people in cities. However it did not create as much affordable housing as supporters would have hoped, building only 29,000 units in 4 1⁄2 years.
The PWA constructed the Williamsburg Houses in Brooklyn, NY, one of the first public housing projects in New York City.
The PWA spent over $6 billion but did not succeed in returning the level of industrial activity to pre-depression levels.Though successful in many aspects, it has been acknowledged that the PWA's objective of constructing a substantial number of quality, affordable housing units was a major failure. Some have argued that because Roosevelt was opposed to deficit spending, there was not enough money spent to help the PWA achieve its housing goals.
Reeves (1973) argues that Roosevelt's competitive theory of administration proved to be inefficient and produced delays. The competition over the size of expenditure, the selection of the administrator, and the appointment of staff at the state level, led to delays and the ultimate failure of PWA as a recovery instrument. As director of the budget, Lewis Douglas overrode the views of leading senators in reducing appropriations to $3.5 billion and in transferring much of that money to other agencies instead of their own specific appropriations. The cautious and penurious Ickes won out over the more imaginative Hugh S. Johnson as chief of public works administration. Political competition between rival Democratic state organizations and between Democrats and Progressive Republicans led to delays in implementing PWA efforts on the local level. Ickes instituted quotas for hiring skilled and unskilled black people in construction financed through the Public Works Administration (PWA). Resistance from employers and unions was partially overcome by negotiations and implied sanctions. Although results were ambiguous, the plan helped provide African Americans with employment, especially among unskilled workers.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved industry toward World War II production, the PWA was abolished and its functions were transferred to the Federal Works Agency in June 1943.
The PWA should not be confused with its great rival the Works Progress Administration (WPA), though both were part of the New Deal. The WPA, headed by Harry Hopkins, engaged in smaller projects in close cooperation with local governments—such as building a city hall or sewers or sidewalks. The PWA projects were much larger in scope, such as giant dams. The WPA hired only people on relief who were paid directly by the federal government. The PWA gave contracts to private firms that did all the hiring on the private sector job market. The WPA also had youth programs (the NYA), projects for women, and art projects that the PWA did not have. [ page needed ]
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a voluntary public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men ages 18–25 and eventually expanded to ages 17–28. Robert Fechner was the first director of this agency, succeeded by James McEntee following Fechner's death. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Through the course of its nine years in operation, three million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a wage of $30 per month.
The Civil Works Administration (CWA) was a short-lived job creation program established by the New Deal during the Great Depression in the United States to rapidly create mostly manual-labor jobs for millions of unemployed workers. The jobs were merely temporary, for the duration of the hard winter of 1933–34. President Franklin D. Roosevelt unveiled the CWA on November 8, 1933, and put Harry L. Hopkins in charge of the short-term agency.
The Works Progress Administration was an American New Deal agency, employing millions of job-seekers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It was established on May 6, 1935, by presidential order, as a key part of the Second New Deal.
Federal Project Number One, also referred to as Federal One, is the collective name for a group of projects under the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal program in the United States. Of the $4.88 billion allocated by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, $27 million was approved for the employment of artists, musicians, actors and writers under the WPA's Federal Project Number One. In its prime, Federal Project Number One employed up to 40,000 writers, musicians, artists and actors because, as Secretary of Commerce Harry Hopkins put it, “Hell, they’ve got to eat, too”. This project had two main principles: 1) that in time of need the artist, no less than the manual worker, is entitled to employment as an artist at the public expense and 2) that the arts, no less than business, agriculture, and labor, are and should be the immediate concern of the ideal commonwealth.
The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) was a program established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, building on the Hoover administration's Emergency Relief and Construction Act. It was replaced in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Harry Lloyd Hopkins was the 8th Secretary of Commerce, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisor on foreign policy during World War II. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country. In World War II, he was Roosevelt's chief diplomatic troubleshooter and liaison with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. He supervised the $50 billion Lend-Lease program of military aid to the Allies.
Harold LeClair Ickes was an American administrator and politician. He served as United States Secretary of the Interior for 13 years, from 1933 to 1946, the longest tenure of anyone to hold the office, and the second longest-serving Cabinet member in U.S. history after James Wilson. Ickes and Labor Secretary Frances Perkins were the only original members of the Roosevelt cabinet who remained in office for his entire presidency.
The Black Cabinet, or Federal Council of Negro Affairs or Black Brain Trust, was the informal term for a group of African Americans who served as public policy advisors to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor Roosevelt in his terms in office from 1933 to 1945. Despite its name, it was not an official organization. The term was coined in 1936 by Mary McLeod Bethune and was occasionally used in the press. By mid-1935, there were 45 African Americans working in federal executive departments and New Deal agencies.
The National Youth Administration (NYA) was a New Deal agency sponsored by the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the U.S. that focused on providing work and education for Americans between the ages of 16 and 25. It operated from June 26, 1935 to 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and included a Division of Negro Affairs headed by Mary McLeod Bethune who worked at the agency from 1936 to 1943. Following the passage of the Reorganization Act of 1939, the NYA was transferred from the WPA to the Federal Security Agency. In 1942, the NYA was transferred to the War Manpower Commission (WMC). The NYA was discontinued in 1943.
The United States Housing Authority, or USHA, was a federal agency created during 1937 within the United States Department of the Interior by the Housing Act of 1937 as part of the New Deal.
The recession of 1937–1938 was an economic downturn that occurred during the Great Depression in the United States.
The Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 was passed on April 8, 1935, as a part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. It was a large public works program that included the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Public Works Administration (PWA), the National Youth Administration, the Resettlement Administration, the Rural Electrification Administration, and other assistance programs. These programs were called the "second New Deal". The programs gave Americans work, for which the government would pay them. The goal was to help unemployment, pull the country out of the Great Depression, and prevent another depression in the future. This was the first and largest system of public-assistance relief programs in American history, and it led to the largest accumulation of national debt.
The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs and agencies included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). They provided support for farmers, the unemployed, youth and the elderly. The New Deal included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply. New Deal programs included both laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders during the first term of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Federal Works Agency (FWA) was an independent agency of the federal government of the United States which administered a number of public construction, building maintenance, and public works relief functions and laws from 1939 to 1949. Along with the Federal Security Agency and Federal Loan Agency, it was one of three catch-all agencies of the federal government pursuant to reorganization plans authorized by the Reorganization Act of 1939, the first major, planned reorganization of the executive branch of the government of the United States since 1787.
The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) was a US labor law and consumer law passed by the 73rd US Congress to authorize the President to regulate industry for fair wages and prices that would stimulate economic recovery. It also established a national public works program known as the Public Works Administration (PWA), not to be confused with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of 1935. The National Recovery Administration (NRA) portion was widely hailed in 1933, but by 1934 business' opinion of the act had soured. By March 1934 the “NRA was engaged chiefly in drawing up these industrial codes for all industries to adopt." However, the NIRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935 and not replaced.
The Main Interior Building, officially known as the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building, located in Washington, D.C., is the headquarters of the United States Department of the Interior.
The first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency began on March 4, 1933, the day Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd President of the United States. He had signaled his intention to move with unprecedented speed to address the problems facing the nation in his inaugural address, declaring: "I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require." Roosevelt's specific priorities at the outset of his presidency were getting Americans back to work, protecting their savings and creating prosperity, providing relief for the sick and elderly, and getting industry and agriculture back on their feet.
The Living New Deal is a research project and online public archive documenting the scope and impact of the New Deal on American lives and the national landscape. The project focuses on public works programs, which put millions of unemployed to work, saved families from destitution, and renovated the infrastructure of the United States. What is more, most New Deal public works - schools, roads, dams, waterworks, hospitals and more - continued to function for decades and tens of thousands still exist today.
PWA Moderne is an architectural style of many buildings in the United States completed between 1933 and 1944, during and shortly after the Great Depression as part of relief projects sponsored by the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
The first term of the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt began on March 4, 1933, when he was inaugurated as the 32nd President of the United States, and the second term of his presidency ended on January 20, 1941, with his inauguration to a third term. Roosevelt, the Democratic governor of the largest state, New York, took office after defeating President Herbert Hoover, his Republican opponent in the 1932 presidential election. Roosevelt led the implementation of the New Deal, a series of programs designed to provide relief, recovery, and reform to Americans and the American economy during the Great Depression. He also presided over a realignment that made his New Deal Coalition of labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans, and rural white Southerners dominant in national politics until the 1960s and defined modern American liberalism.
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