Rooselvelt Essay

This essay has a total of 10758 words and 41 pages.

Rooselvelt




Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States. Roosevelt served
longer than any other president. His unprecedented election to four terms in office will
probably never be repeated; the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,
passed after his death, denies the right of any person to be elected president more than
twice.

Roosevelt held office during two of the greatest crises ever faced by the United States:
the Great Depression of the 1930s, followed by World War II. His domestic program, known
as the New Deal, introduced far-reaching reforms within the free enterprise system and
prepared the way for what is often called the welfare state. His leadership of the
Democratic Party transformed it into a political vehicle for American liberalism. Both in
peacetime and in war his impact on the office of president was enormous. Although there
had been strong presidents before him, they were the exception. In Roosevelt’s 12 years in
office strong executive leadership became a basic part of United States government. He
made the office of president the center of diplomatic initiative and the focus of domestic
reform.

Roosevelt was born at his family’s estate at Hyde Park, in Dutchess County, New York. He
was the only child of James Roosevelt and Sara Delano Roosevelt. James Roosevelt was a
moderately successful businessman, with a variety of investments and a special interest in
coal. He was also a conservative Democrat who was interested in politics. His home
overlooking the Hudson River was comfortable without being ostentatious, and the family
occupied a prominent position among the social elite of the area. Sara Delano, 26 years
younger than her previously widowed husband, brought to the marriage a fortune
considerably larger than that of James Roosevelt. The Delano family had prospered trading
with China, and Sara herself had spent some time with her parents in Hong Kong. Thus,
Franklin was born into a pleasant and sociable home, with loving parents and congenial,
rather aristocratic companions.

Roosevelt often taken on European trips, and he also spent much time at a vacation home
that James Roosevelt purchased on Campobello Island, on the Bay of Fundy, in New
Brunswick, Canada. It was a pleasant life for the young Roosevelt, who was fond of the
outdoors. He soon developed a passionate interest in natural history and became an ardent
bird watcher. He grew to love outdoor sports and became an expert swimmer and a fine
sailor.

His mother supervised his education until he was 14. French-speaking and German-speaking
tutors did most of the actual instruction and helped him develop early a talent for those
languages. Young Roosevelt was a voracious reader. He was particularly fond of adventure
tales, especially those that touched on the sea. He also developed an absorbing interest
in stamp collecting, a hobby that taught him both history and geography and that was to
afford him pleasure and relaxation during all of his adult life.

Rossevelts selected Groton School in Massachusetts, which had a reputation as one of the
finest of the exclusive private schools that prepared boys for the Ivy League colleges.
Young Roosevelt was a good student, popular with his fellow students as well as with his
teachers.

From Groton Roosevelt went on to Harvard College. He entered in 1899, the year before his
father died, and remained until 1904. He took his bachelor’s degree in 1903 but returned
to Harvard in the fall to serve as editor of the student newspaper, The Crimson. He was an
above-average student at Harvard, but he devoted a great deal of time to extracurricular
activities, and his grades suffered as a consequence. He was particularly interested in
history and political economy and took courses in those subjects with outstanding
professors. Although he was a competent journalist, his editorials in The Crimson were
chiefly concerned with school spirit in athletics and show no sign of growing social
consciousness or political awareness. However, he joined a Republican club in 1900, out of
boyish enthusiasm for the vice-presidential candidacy of his distant cousin Theodore
Roosevelt. In 1904 he cast his first vote in a presidential election for his cousin, who
had become president after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.
Afterward, however, Franklin joined his father’s political party, and he probably never
again voted for a Republican.

Roosevelt then moved to New York City, where he entered the Columbia University Law School
in 1904. Although he attended classes until 1907, he failed to stay on for his law degree
after passing the state examinations allowing him to practice law. For the next three
years he was a clerk in a prominent law firm in New York City, but the evidence is clear
that he had little interest in law and little enthusiasm to be a lawyer.

Well before he finished his work at Columbia, young Franklin Roosevelt had married his
distant cousin Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. They had been in love for some time and were
determined to marry in spite of the opposition of Franklin’s mother. The bride’s uncle,
President Theodore Roosevelt, was present at the ceremony in New York City on March 17,
1905. Five of their six children grew to maturity: Anna, James, Elliott, Franklin, Jr.,
and John. The chief problem faced by the young couple during the early years of their
marriage was Sara Roosevelt’s possessive attitude toward her son. Eleanor’s forbearance
mitigated this situation, but the problem remained for many years.

Roosevelt formally entered politics in 1910, when he became a candidate for the New York
State Senate in a district composed of three upstate farming counties. Democratic leaders
had approached young Roosevelt because of his name and local prominence—and because he
might be expected to pay his own election expenses. The 28-year-old Roosevelt campaigned
hard, stressing his deep personal interest in conservation and other issues of concern in
an agricultural area and also his strong support of honest and efficient government. In
the first good year for Democrats since the early 1890s he was narrowly elected. He was
only the second Democrat to represent his district after the emergence of the Republican
Party in 1856.

In the state capitol at Albany, Roosevelt gained statewide publicity as the leader of a
small group of upstate Democrats who refused to follow the leadership of Tammany Hall,
also known as the Tammany Society, the Democratic Party organization of New York City. In
particular, they refused to vote for the rich politician William F. “Blue-Eyed Bill”
Sheehan for U.S. senator. Roosevelt’s group succeeded in blocking the election of Sheehan,
which infuriated Tammany Hall. The dramatic struggle drew the attention of New York voters
to the tall vigorous new state senator with the magic name of Roosevelt. He soon became a
dedicated social and economic reformer, and a political independent. He was reelected in
1912, in spite of a case of typhoid fever that kept him from campaigning.

Roosevelt entrusted his campaign management to the journalist Louis McHenry Howe. Howe, a
genius at politics, performed brilliantly. Henceforth, Roosevelt and Howe were to be
almost inseparable, and Howe, a wizened and colorful little man, guided the political
fortunes of the Hyde Park aristocrat.

Even before his reelection to the New York legislature, Roosevelt had entered the national
political arena by taking part in the campaign of Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey
for the Democratic nomination for president. Once again the young state senator was a
member of a minority group among New York Democrats. When Wilson won at both the
convention and the polls in 1912, his early supporters were rewarded, and Roosevelt became
assistant secretary of the United States Navy. Roosevelt resigned his state senate seat
and moved to Washington, D.C., to take over the position once occupied by his cousin
Theodore Roosevelt.

Franklin Roosevelt’s years as assistant secretary, from 1913 to 1920, taught him both how
to get things accomplished and, just as important for an executive, how to avoid
unnecessary trouble. He had the devoted assistance of Louis Howe, who came along to the
nation’s capital as Roosevelt’s assistant. Roosevelt’s superior was Secretary of the Navy
Josephus Daniels, a North Carolina editor. Daniels was a close friend and devoted follower
of Nebraska editor and former Representative William Jennings Bryan, three times the
Democratic candidate for president and Wilson’s secretary of state. Like Bryan, Daniels
was concerned about agrarian issues and was a progressive reformer. He was also an
isolationist (someone who believed that the United States should avoid alliances with
other nations), who hated the idea of war. Young Roosevelt, an energetic supporter of a
bigger navy and soon a warm friend of most of the leading admirals, inevitably had many
disagreements with his chief, especially during Wilson’s first term. Daniels had the
confidence both of the president and of the most influential Democrats in the Congress of
the United States; Roosevelt had neither of these. However, in time the two men came to
have genuine respect for one another’s different talents, and they remained good friends.

The Daniels-Roosevelt administration of the Navy Department was highly effective. American
entry into World War I in 1917 found the navy in relatively good shape. Roosevelt, as the
second in command, was particularly concerned with the civilian employees of the
department. With the help of the energetic Howe, he made excellent contacts with labor
leaders in the course of smoothing relations between the navy and its workers. Roosevelt
was also involved in the enormous build-up of the naval forces and with the general
administration of the department. Frequent public speeches brought him to the attention of
the public, and he soon had a reputation as a young man of great promise. He turned down
an opportunity to win the Democratic nomination for governor of New York in 1918 in order
to go on a three-month tour of duty in Europe, during which he visited the western front
in France. Although he wanted to go on active duty as a naval officer, both Wilson and
Daniels insisted that he stay on as assistant secretary of the navy. He remained at that
post until August 1920, when he resigned to campaign as the Democratic candidate for vice
president.

The Democratic National Convention of 1920 nominated as its candidate for president the
governor of Ohio, James M. Cox. It was natural for the convention to turn to Roosevelt for
the second position on the ticket. He was a member of the Wilson administration, closely
identified with the League of Nations, an international association of countries that
would, according to Wilson, prevent future wars. Roosevelt was young, handsome, energetic,
and had a reputation as a fine administrator. He also came from an important state.
Nevertheless the Cox-Roosevelt campaign was hopeless, for the American people had had
enough of Democratic leadership and quickly responded to the pledge of the Republican
candidate, Warren G. Harding, for a return to “normalcy.” Roosevelt campaigned vigorously
for a losing cause, making friends among Democratic leaders from coast to coast. After
November 1920 he was a widely known public figure, even if he no longer held public
office. Roosevelt, still under 40, could afford to wait.

Roosevelt resumed his law career on a part-time basis, and became vice president of the
Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland. In this position he was in charge of the New
York office of one of the most important companies handling bonds for public officials.
Roosevelt’s wide contacts and administrative talents provided an excellent background for
this situation. Roosevelt also dabbled in a series of speculative ventures, none of which
turned out very well.


Personal tragedy struck Roosevelt in August 1921, when he contracted what was diagnosed,
after an unfortunate delay, as poliomyelitis. He had been plagued by illness of various
sorts during the previous decade, and he had overexerted himself swimming and hiking at
Campobello. In great agony and completely unable to walk, Roosevelt seemed to have reached
the end of his active public career. Indeed, his mother wanted him to return to Hyde Park
for the peace and quiet of the life of a country gentleman. However, backed by the
determination of his wife and Louis Howe, Roosevelt decided to return to his work as soon
as possible. In spite of the efforts of numerous specialists and of his strenuous
exercises, particularly swimming at his “second home” in Warm Springs, Georgia, he was
never again able to walk unaided. He spent most of his working hours in a wheelchair, and
he walked with leg braces and canes, usually with help. Through the worst years of his
paralysis, Roosevelt was amazingly cheerful. Eleanor Roosevelt often acted as her
husband’s eyes and ears, bringing him information and conferring with people he was no
longer readily able to meet. Howe remained close by Roosevelt, assisting him in many ways
and planning for his return to public life.

Roosevelt continued to busy himself with Democratic politics after his illness. In 1922 he
aided Alfred E. Smith, who in that year made a successful political comeback and became
governor of New York for the second time. In 1924 Roosevelt made a rousing nominating
speech for Smith at the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden, in New
York City, calling the governor the “Happy Warrior.” Although Smith was unable to win the
Democratic presidential nomination in 1924, he was reelected governor that year and again
in 1926. In 1928 Roosevelt again nominated Smith for president at the national convention.
This time, Smith was chosen, becoming the first Roman Catholic nominated by a major U.S.
party as its candidate for president.

At Smith’s urging, and against the advice of Eleanor Roosevelt and Louis Howe, Roosevelt
agreed to run for governor. Smith, well aware that his own religion, his identification
with urban issues, and his opposition to the prohibition of liquor would hurt him in rural
Protestant areas, needed the help of Roosevelt in New York state. Ironically, Roosevelt
was elected governor by the narrow margin of 25,000 out of 4.5 million votes cast, while
Smith lost New York, and the presidency, to Herbert Hoover. Smith felt that his defeat was
solely the result of religious prejudice, but it is unlikely that any Democrat could have
defeated the Republicans in 1928.

Roosevelt thus succeeded Smith as governor in January 1929. He soon made it clear that he
was going to have his own administration by replacing key Smith associates, and before
long there was coolness between the two former political allies. Like Smith, Roosevelt had
to cope with a Republican legislature. Since Smith had been responsible for a series of
important social and administrative reforms, Roosevelt faced a difficult task in working
out a distinctive program of his own. His first successes were in the fields of
conservation and tax relief for farmers, areas in which he shared a common interest with
his Republican legislators. In time he developed a skill as a political manager and a
superb style of speaking on the radio. He was also careful to develop support among
different groups for his plans.

In October 1929 the economic prosperity that the United States had enjoyed for most of the
1920s came to an abrupt end. During this period many people had put their savings and
earnings in risky investments, particularly the buying of stocks on margin. In these
cases, the buyer put up as little as 3 percent of a stock’s price in cash and borrowed the
remainder from the broker. The growing demand for stocks and the prosperous state of the
nation as a whole caused stock prices to rise, which in turn encouraged more stock
purchases.

Stock prices reached their height in the so-called “Hoover bull market” during the first
six months of the Hoover administration. People invested billions of dollars in the stock
market, obtaining money by borrowing from banks, mortgaging their homes, and selling
lower-risk government securities, such as Liberty Bonds.

In August 1929 approximately 300 million shares of stock had been purchased on margin.
During normal business periods a share of stock had been purchased mostly for the dividend
it paid, but during the Hoover bull market stocks were purchased increasingly to sell at a
higher price. Unfortunately, industry sales had begun to slow down, indicating that stock
prices were likely to fall because industries would pay smaller dividends. In September
1929 some investors began selling stocks, believing prices had reached their highest level
and would fall in the near future. Other investors began selling, too, and as they sold
the price to buy those stocks began to fall more quickly. The decline in prices especially
threatened those who had purchased on margin, because they owed their broker the amount of
the original price of the stock—even if that stock was now worth only half as much.

As a result, by October 1929 the feverish buying had stopped and had given way to
desperate selling. Prices dropped rapidly, and thousands of people lost all they had
invested. Many were completely ruined financially. On October 29 the New York Stock
Exchange, the largest in the world, had its worst day of panic selling. By the end of the
day stock values had declined by $10 billion to $15 billion.

Following the stock market crash of October 1929 Roosevelt found himself a depression
governor, with new problems to face. In 1930 he was reelected by the unprecedented number
of 725,000 votes.

As an energetic governor and a leading progressive reformer who was also head of the
nation’s most populous state, Roosevelt was automatically a leading contender for the
Democratic presidential nomination in 1932.His inability to walk unaided had proved to be
no political problem; indeed, many New Yorkers were unaware that their governor used a
wheelchair. Roosevelt and Howe planned the campaign carefully. As the front-runner,
Roosevelt was in some danger of becoming the man against whom the other candidates might
combine. This could be fatal to his chances, since at that time it was necessary that a
candidate secure two-thirds of the convention vote in order to win the nomination. Due to
the growing unpopularity of the depression-ridden Hoover administration, 1932 looked like
a Democratic year, and thus the Democratic nomination was pursued more aggressively than
it had been for years.

New York Democratic chairman James Aloysius Farley traveled across the country in the
summer of 1931 and made friends for Roosevelt and himself in each state he visited. He
reported on his return that prospects were excellent for Roosevelt in all of these states
except California, where newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst had great power and
where the Democratic Party was a shambles. Hearst’s newspapers, bitter in their attacks on
Hoover, gave their support to Speaker of the House John Nance Garner of Texas, whose
isolationist views were more congenial to Hearst than were the views of a man still
identified with former President Wilson’s campaign for the League of Nations. Roosevelt,
in an effort to ensure that Hearst would not lead a fight against him, announced that he
no longer favored U.S. entry into the League of Nations. This position angered many
supporters of Wilson, who felt that Roosevelt had turned his back on Wilson’s memory.

Fortunately for Roosevelt his opponents for the nomination, including the now-embittered
Al Smith, were never able to organize against him and keep him from getting the necessary
two-thirds vote. The strongest opposition to Roosevelt came from city leaders in the
Northeast. His chief strength came from the South and West. He was nominated on
the fourth ballot, after Garner agreed to accept the vice-presidential nomination. In part
to demonstrate his physical capability and in part to show that he was ready to break with
tradition, Roosevelt flew to Chicago, Illinois, to accept the nomination in person rather
than wait weeks to reply to a formal notice of his nomination. In a dramatic speech to the
convention, Roosevelt pledged a New Deal for the American people. The term New Deal came
to describe Roosevelt’s domestic policies, under which the government became much more
directly involved in national social and economic affairs than ever before.

Roosevelt had more difficulty in winning the Democratic nomination in 1932 than he had in
defeating President Hoover. In spite of Hoover’s unprecedented efforts to use the power of
the federal government to overcome the Great Depression, he was completely identified with
the policies of former U.S. presidents Warren Harding (1921-1923) and of Calvin Coolidge
(1923-1929), since he had served as secretary of commerce in both administrations.
Roosevelt’s task was essentially a simple one: to convince the American people that
because the Republicans had claimed full credit for the prosperity of the 1920s, they
should receive full blame for the depression. Roosevelt was spectacularly successful. He
had an exuberance as a campaigner, a glowing confidence, and a warmth that was transmitted
to his listeners. He toured widely by train, making brief appearances to cheering crowds
and delivering carefully prepared speeches nearly every night. He promised to a despondent
people a New Deal in manner and in spirit. Roosevelt won a resounding victory, losing only
six states out of a total of 48. Of the six, four were in traditionally Republican New
England.

When Roosevelt became president, on March 4, 1933, the Great Depression was at its worst.
Sixteen million or more people were unemployed, and many had been out of work for a year
or even longer. The American banking system had collapsed. Many states had declared
so-called bank holidays, or enforced closings to prevent banks from being ruined when
depositors withdrew all their money. Although the American depression had been touched off
by the stock market crash in New York City in October 1929, it had since become part of a
worldwide economic collapse. Whether Americans would be satisfied with the new leadership
depended on Roosevelt’s success in bringing aid to those in distress and in achieving some
measure of economic improvement.

Roosevelt’s first inaugural address, with its pledge to make war upon the depression and
its ringing phrase, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” brought a new style to the
U.S. presidency. Roosevelt was confident, both in himself as a leader and in the American
people. His liking for people came through to them over the radio and in the press. Out of
his general bewilderment with the failure of the U.S. economy came few specific promises,
but Americans probably felt more comfortable under the leadership of a man pledged to
experiment than they had under Hoover’s leadership, which had seemed inflexible. At least
the prospect of change offered hope to the millions of people trapped in the depression.

At this time, Roosevelt was 51. He was vigorous and hard-working but capable of relaxation
and in excellent health and spirits. His brief legislative experience and his public
administrative careers had given him a wide acquaintance among political leaders. He was
an irregular Democrat because he had asked for and obtained the support of progressive
Republicans in his campaign and had rewarded several of them with high positions in his
government. As president he sought to be “president of all the people.” He stressed that
the conquest of the depression was “above politics,” one of Roosevelt’s favorite terms but
one not popular with professional Democrats who wanted Roosevelt to give them government
jobs. It is noteworthy that Roosevelt frequently turned for help to people not previously
identified with Democratic Party politics, such as what was called the Brain Trust, which
was made up of faculty members from Columbia University (Raymond Moley, Adolf Berle, and
Rexford Tugwell) and from Harvard (Thomas Corcoran and Benjamin Cohen). Roosevelt liked to
learn through listening to and questioning experts, thus becoming familiar with different
points of view. He was not usually communicative in return, and preferred to make up his
mind in private. Indeed, he was “a private person,” as Tugwell put it, in spite of his
warm public personality. He had a genius for simple, clear speaking, and he projected a
sense of dedication with a rousing style. He was at his best in press conferences,
generally held twice a week. He knew how to handle questions easily, and had a quick sense
of humor and an enormous fund of detailed information. The reporters usually liked him,
and he received good press throughout his presidency, even when most newspaper publishers
had turned against him and his policies.

However, much of the most important work went to men and women who had never engaged in
any sort of politics. Louis Howe, now secretary to the president, continued to help his
old chief but did not play an important role in creating policy. The Cabinet was generally
undistinguished, but it did contain the first female Cabinet member, Secretary of Labor
Frances Perkins.

Roosevelt immediately called a special session of Congress to deal with the depression
rather than wait for the regular session in December. The legislation passed by Congress
and signed by Roosevelt in the spring of 1933 was remarkable, both in number of bills
passed and in their scope. Contemporaries called it the Hundred Days, a term that
historians continue to use. No session of Congress had ever produced so much important
legislation. Not until 1965 did another president or Congress accomplish as much.

Roosevelt had called the special session to deal with the banking crisis, economy in
government, and changes to the liquor law. Congress quickly responded to the first and
third. The Emergency Banking Act, introduced, passed, and signed by the president during a
single day, gave the federal government sweeping power to deal with the banking crisis.
The Beer Act raised the percentage of alcohol considered nonintoxicating from .05 percent
to 3.2 percent. This made it possible to sell three-two, or low alcohol, beer, which had
been illegal under the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (see Prohibition). The
Economy Act, reducing government salaries and pensions to meet a Roosevelt campaign
pledge, was bitterly opposed by many Democratic representatives and passed only because of
intense pressure from Roosevelt and support by most Republicans in Congress.

While Congress was acting on these matters, Roosevelt aggressively pushed other
legislation. Bills were frequently written by the executive branch, a procedure that made
the legislative process faster and ensured that measures emerging from Congress would have
the approval of the president. Congress worked quickly on most measures, but there was
opposition from some members, especially those who felt that Roosevelt was not going far
enough, fast enough. Roosevelt’s success in getting Congress to do so much of what he
wanted was in part a result of a widespread desperation and in part a result of strong
leadership.

The basic New Deal legislation was passed in slightly more than five years, from 1933 to
1938. Historians have frequently discussed these laws under the headings of the three Rs:
relief, recovery, and reform.

The most pressing problem facing Roosevelt, once the banking crisis had passed, was that
of providing relief for the unemployed and their families. Private charities had long
since run out of money, and few states could still provide any assistance. Under President
Hoover the Reconstruction Finance Corporation had made loans to states to finance relief
payments, although Hoover had long tried to avoid this step. However, under Roosevelt’s
Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the first of his major relief operations,
large amounts of money were given to the states. Harry L. Hopkins, a tough-minded
professional social worker who had administered state relief under Governor Roosevelt, was
the head of FERA. He saw to it that available funds were spent quickly to provide help to
as many as possible.

The president and Hopkins, like President Hoover before them, believed in work relief, or
payment for work performed, rather than the dole, a simple payment without any work
requirement. Although they felt that work relief would help to maintain the morale of the
recipients, work projects took time to plan and were far more costly to administer than
the simple dole. FERA did have a subdivision, the Civil Works Administration (CWA), which
provided work relief for a large number of men during the winter of 1933 and 1934.
However, due to the necessity of making the available money go as far as possible, the
FERA essentially dispensed money through the state governments.

Unemployment persisted in the early years of Roosevelt’s presidency, in spite of some
economic recovery. At the end of 1934 about one-sixth of the entire country was still on
relief. In 1935 a new semipermanent organization, the Works Progress Administration (WPA,
later renamed the Work Projects Administration), was set up by executive order and placed
under Hopkins, and the FERA was abolished. The WPA provided work relief only, and due to
lack of money many people on relief had to depend on the hard-pressed states for a dole.

Roads and streets were built or improved. Schools, libraries, and other public buildings
were constructed or repaired. Artists, musicians, and writers performed for the benefit of
the public. Administrative costs were higher than those of the FERA, but the projects
carried out were more complex and useful.

Two other relief operations were designed especially for young people. Both were of great
interest to the president and his wife. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) provided
work for unemployed and unmarried young men. They received food and shelter and were paid
$30 per month, of which $25 had to be given to relatives or dependents. More than a
quarter of a million men, many of them from city slums, worked in the corps, living
together in camps under the management of army officers. They benefited from the healthy
outdoor work, their families benefited from the money, and the country benefited from the
many worthy projects they completed. The National Youth Administration (NYA) provided
needy high school and college students with part-time jobs at their schools. The NYA also
gave useful part-time employment to needy young people who were no longer in school. NYA
workers normally earned from $5 to $15 per month. Although these sums were small, they
proved valuable for the support of the recipients and their families during this period of
great economic distress.

Recovery Legislation When he took office, Roosevelt must have felt that his basic problem
was how to bring about economic recovery. His predecessor, in spite of his philosophy of
rugged individualism, had reluctantly accepted some government responsibility for
improving the economy. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), established under
Hoover, provided loans to financial institutions, railways, and public agencies. Roosevelt
reappointed the head of that organization, and with congressional approval, he made RFC
loans easier to get and the RFC became a major recovery agency of the New Deal.

Another Hoover policy, direct spending on major public works, was taken over and greatly
expanded by Roosevelt. He set up a Public Works Administration (PWA) and put it under the
jurisdiction of Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes, a Republican reformer from
Chicago. Ickes proceeded slowly with PWA projects, for he had an obsessive and probably
well-founded idea that if he did not watch closely, the PWA would provide politicians with
opportunities for corruption. As a result of this slowness, Ickes’s PWA did not play a
very important role in the early New Deal, and an increasingly larger share of money was
given to the less tidy but more energetic relief operations of Ickes’s rival, Harry
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