New Deal Timeline

This timeline provides a chronology of New Deal legislation & programs, presidential elections, key speeches, state of the economy, and important events. 

For more information on any of the New Deal programs found in this timeline, such as the CCC or WPA, go to our “New Deal Programs” page.  There you will find one-page summaries of over fifty laws and programs organized by policy arena. You can find the same program briefs listed alphabetically on a separate page.


Part I: The Stock Market Crash, the Great Depression, and the first New Deal, 1929-1934

October 1929:

The Stock Market Crash sets the stage for the Great Depression.

1929-1932:

The unemployment rate reaches 22.9%, gross domestic product drops sharply (a 23.1% drop from 1931 to 1932 alone), the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops from about 241 to 60, and there are 5,755 bank failures – with many depositors losing their life savings. Large numbers of Americans lose their homes and farms.

November 8, 1932:

President Roosevelt wins the presidential election, beating sitting Republican President Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt wins 472 Electoral College votes (88.9%) to Hoover’s 59, and 57.4% of the popular vote to Hoover’s 39.6%.

1932-1933:

The “Pecora Investigation,” led by U.S. Senator Peter Norbeck and also, eventually, attorney Ferdinand Pecora, exposes wide-scale fraud and greed in some of America’s largest financial institutions, thereby laying the groundwork for New Deal reforms of Wall Street and the banking industry.

February 15, 1933:

Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate Franklin Roosevelt in Miami, Florida. Roosevelt escapes injury but Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who had come to Miami to meet with Roosevelt, is shot and killed. Several other people are injured.

March 4, 1933:

During his first inaugural address, President Roosevelt tells the American people: “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

March 5, 1933:

President Roosevelt declares a bank holiday. The holiday closes the nation’s banks for several days in an effort to curb the number of bank runs and bank failures.

March 9, 1933:

President Roosevelt signs the Emergency Banking Relief Act into law. The law aims to shore up the nation’s troubled banking – for example, by examining the financial health of individual banks.

March 12, 1933:

In the first of many “Fireside Chat” radio broadcasts, President Roosevelt tells the American people, “Your Government does not intend that the history of the past few years shall be repeated. We do not want and will not have another epidemic of bank failures.”

March 22, 1933:

President Roosevelt signs the Beer-Wine Revenue Act, a law that helps pave the way towards the repeal of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition).

March 31, 1933:

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) is created by the Emergency Conservation Work Act, putting unemployed young men to work in the nation’s forests and parks. The CCC ultimately employs about three million men in conservation work (e.g., planting trees, reducing erosion, and fighting fires).

May 12, 1933:

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) is created, via the Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933, to provide work and cash relief for Americans struggling to get through the Great Depression.

May 12, 1933:

President Roosevelt signs into law the Agricultural Adjustment Act. The law seeks to reduce surpluses of farm goods and livestock. The law also creates the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA).

May 18, 1933:

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is created with the passage of the Tennessee Valley Authority Act to provide affordable power and flood control, which it still does to this day.

May 27, 1933:

President Roosevelt signs the Securities Act of 1933. The law is designed to reduce fraudulent activities on Wall Street.

June 13, 1933:

President Roosevelt signs the Home Owners’ Loan Act of 1933. The law assists mortgage lenders and individual home owners by issuing bonds and loans for troubled mortgages, back taxes, home owners’ insurance, and necessary home repairs. It creates the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) to administer the provisions of the act.

June 16, 1933:

The Banking Act of 1933 (“Glass-Steagall”) is signed into law. It separates commercial and investment banking, and also creates the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to insure bank deposits, curb bank runs, and reduce the number of bank failures. The FDIC still functions today.

June 16, 1933:

President Roosevelt signs the Farm Credit Act, making credit more accessible to farmers, and with fairer terms than private sector lending (e.g., lower interest rates).

June 16, 1933:

President Roosevelt signs the National Industrial Recovery Act into law. Title I regulates certain business activities (and will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court). Title II creates the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, which eventually becomes known as the Public Works Administration (PWA). During the next 10 years the PWA contributes billions of dollars towards tens of thousands of infrastructure projects all across the nation.

June 16, 1933:

With Executive Order No. 6174, President Roosevelt authorizes up to $238 million in Public Works Administration (PWA) funds for the Navy. From these funds, 32 naval vessels are built and many end up playing key roles during World War II.

October 4, 1933:

The Federal Surplus Relief Corporation is created. The name is changed to Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation on November 18, 1935. The agency provides millions of tons of food and commodities (e.g., blankets) to those in need.

October 9, 1933:

A Procurement Division of the U.S. Treasury is established, and within this division the Public Works Branch is created – later named the Public Buildings Branch (PBB). The PBB utilizes funding from the Public Works Administration (PWA) and emergency relief appropriations to build and repair federal buildings, e.g., post offices, courthouses, and hospitals.

October 23, 1933:

With the clearing of trees, the Army Corps of Engineers begins the construction of the Fort Peck Dam, one of the many large Corps projects made possible with New Deal funding (PWA and emergency relief appropriations).

November 9, 1933:

The Civil Works Administration (CWA) is created with Executive Order No. 6420B, under the power granted to President Roosevelt by the National Industrial Recovery Act. By January 1934, over 4 million formerly-jobless Americans are employed by the CWA. During the program, over $800 million will be spent employing men to build 44,000 miles of new roads, install 1,000 miles of new water mains, construct or improve 4,000 schools, and much more.

December 8, 1933:

The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) is created by an allocation of funds from the Civil Works Administration. Unemployed artists are hired to create works of art for public buildings and parks. They will create nearly 16,000 works of art.

During 1933:

Unemployment drops from 22.9% to 20.6%, gross domestic product loses 4% from 1932 (as opposed to the 23.1% loss from 1931 to 1932), and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rises from 60 to 99. There are 4,000 bank failures. But New Deal spending programs and financial reforms are only beginning to be implemented.

January 30, 1934:

President Roosevelt signs the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 into law. The law transfers ownership of almost all privately-held gold in America to the U.S. Treasury (for compensation in U.S. Treasury Notes, i.e., dollar bills).

May 20, 1934:

The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) ends. This 5-month-long program employed 3,749 artists and created 15,663 works of art.

June 6, 1934:

The Securities Act of 1934 is signed into law by President Roosevelt. The law creates the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and gives the SEC regulatory and disciplinary powers. The SEC still exists today.

June 18, 1934:

President Roosevelt signs the Indian Reorganization Act, a law that returns or adds tribal land, spurs the development of tribal business, creates a system of credit, and promotes tribal self-governance.

June 19, 1934:

President Roosevelt signs the Communication Act of 1934. The law creates a centralized regulatory authority, the Federal Communications Commission, to oversee the communications industry.

June 27, 1934:

President Roosevelt signs the National Housing Act to facilitate greater lending for home construction, home purchasing, and home improvements. The law also creates the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

July 14, 1934:

The last lingering employment in the Civil Works Administration (CWA) ends (the vast bulk had ended by March 31). The CWA had spent about $800 million employing over 4 million men on various infrastructure projects, e.g., 44,000 miles of new roads, 1,000 miles of new water mains, and 4,000 new or improved schools.

August 8, 1934:

Construction of the All-American Canal begins in California. The canal is a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation project and one of the many Bureau water delivery projects made possible with funding assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA). Today, the canal still provides irrigation water for hundreds of thousands of acres and also produces hydroelectric power.

October 16, 1934:

Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., creates the Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture. Between 1933 and 1943, this art program creates over 1,000 murals and over 260 sculptures for federal buildings, e.g., post offices.

During 1934:

The unemployment rate is down to 16% (from about 22.9% at the start of Roosevelt’s presidency), gross domestic product rises dramatically (a 16.9% increase from 1933), the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 104 (from 60 in 1932), and there are 9 bank failures – compared to 4,000 in 1933 and 14,807 from 1921 through 1933.

Part II: The Second New Deal – A Resolute Commitment to Infrastructure, Conservation, and the General Welfare, 1935-1936

April 27, 1935:

President Roosevelt signs the Soil Conservation Act, creating the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). The new agency helps preserve America’s agricultural land from erosion and overuse. The SCS remains active for the next fifty years and helps facilitate the creation of thousands of state-level soil conservation districts, which still operate today.

May 1, 1935:

President Roosevelt creates the Resettlement Administration (RA) with Executive Order No. 7027, under authority of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. The RA is created to resettle destitute Americans, address environmental issues, and make loans to farmers. The program ends in 1937, with many duties and responsibilities taken over by the newly-created Farm Security Administration (FSA).

May 6, 1935:

President Roosevelt creates the Works Progress Administration (WPA) on May 6, 1935 with Executive Order No. 7034, under authority of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. The program is created to provide jobs for unemployed Americans and to improve the nation’s infrastructure. The WPA employs over 8.5 million jobless Americans during its 8 years of operation.

May 11, 1935:

With Executive Order No. 7037, President Roosevelt creates the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). The REA’s mission is to bring electric power to rural areas, where private companies have avoided doing business.

May 27, 1935:

The U.S. Supreme Court rules Title I, Section 3 of the National Industrial Recovery Act as an unconstitutional restraint of interstate commerce. The offending section of the law had imposed a system of codes on American businesses, controlling things such as production and wages.

May 28, 1935:

President Roosevelt creates the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration (PRRA) with Executive Order No. 7057. The agency lasted until 1955 and greatly improved Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, education system, agricultural land, and health services.

June 26, 1935:

President Roosevelt creates the National Youth Administration (NYA) with Executive Order No. 7086, under authority of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. The program is designed to provide work, education, and job training for unemployed young men and women. It employs 4.7 million young Americans over its eight year life.

July 5, 1935:

President Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act (or “Wagner Act”). The law enhances labor’s ability to unionize and, over the long term, makes labor-management relations less violent. The law is administered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which still exists today in a much-weakened form.

August, 1935:

The Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP) is established to hire unemployed artists to create art for public places. It lasts until 1939, but the bulk of its employment is from 1935 to 1937. The program spends $750,000 to create about 10,000 easel paintings, 89 murals, and 43 sculptures.

August 14, 1935:

The Social Security Act is signed into law. One of the most popular and enduring programs of the New Deal, the law creates an old age pension system and other social safety net programs that have been a rock of economic security for Americans ever since.

August 23, 1935:

The Banking Act of 1935 is signed into law by President Roosevelt. The act reorganizes the Federal Reserve Bank system to reduce the power of the New York branch.

Aug. & Sept. 1935:

Federal Project Number One is established. Eventually, it will contain the Federal Art Project (FAP), Federal Music Project (FMP), Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), Federal Theatre Project (FTP), and Historical Records Survey (HRS) – all WPA-sponsored programs. Federal Project Number One ended in June 1939, but its component units (except for the FTP) would last another few years under a different organizational framework within the WPA. Collectively, these programs created hundreds of thousands of artworks, performances, books, plays, historical inventories, and more.

December 31, 1935:

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) ends its main operations (but complete liquidation will take several more years). Between 1933 and 1935, FERA granted $3 billion to states for various types of work and cash relief for the needy, and kept many cities from going bankrupt.

During 1935:

The unemployment rate is down to 14.2% (from about 22.9% at the start of Roosevelt’s presidency), gross domestic product rises dramatically again (an 11.1% increase from 1934), the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 143 (from 104 in 1934), and there are 25 bank failures – compared to 14,807 bank failures from 1921 through 1933.

January 6, 1936:

In United States v. Butler, the U.S. Supreme Court finds the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 unconstitutional, ruling that the control of agriculture is a state function, not a federal one.

May 20, 1936:

President Roosevelt signs the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) had been created a year earlier, but new legislation was needed to address problems that the agency had encountered (e.g., the lack of interest shown by private companies to partner with REA to bring electric power to rural areas).

June 19, 1936:

President Roosevelt signs the Robinson-Patman Act (or “Anti-Price Discrimination Act”). The law attempts to curtail monopolistic control and discriminatory pricing in industry and business.

September 1, 1936:

In its annual report, the Bureau of Public Roads reports thousands of miles of roadwork underway or completed with funding from the Public Works Administration (PWA) and labor from the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

October 31, 1936:

At Madison Square Garden, a few days before voters would head to the polls, President Roosevelt acknowledged the opposition he faced from many in the business community: “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace – business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. And we know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.”

November 3, 1936:

Roosevelt wins his second term as president, beating Republican challenger Alf Landon. Roosevelt wins 523 Electoral College votes (98.5%) to Landon’s 8, and 60.8% of the popular vote to Landon’s 36.5%.

During 1936:

The unemployment rate is down to 9.9% (from about 22.9% at the start of Roosevelt’s presidency), gross domestic product rises dramatically again (a 14.3% increase from 1935), the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 181 (from 143 in 1935), and there are 69 bank failures – compared to 14,807 bank failures from 1921 through 1933.

Part III: A Third New Deal? Better Working Conditions & More Power for the People, 1937-1938

January 20, 1937:

Though the New Deal has made great progress towards repairing the nation’s economy and providing greater opportunity for Americans, President Roosevelt, during his second inaugural address, stated: “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished…The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

February 5, 1937:

Roosevelt introduces a plan to increase the membership of the Supreme Court, with up to six additional justices. It is introduced after years of hostility by the Supreme Court towards the New Deal and becomes known as Roosevelt’s “court-packing” plan. It is ultimately unsuccessful, but only months after it is introduced, the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security Act.

July 22, 1937:

President Roosevelt signs the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, which opens up credit to tenant farmers and sharecroppers for the purchase of farming land.

August 20, 1937:

President Roosevelt signs the Bonneville Project Act into law, which facilitates the creation of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). To this day, the BPA supplies power to millions of Americans in the Pacific Northwest and surrounding areas.

September 1, 1937:

President Roosevelt signs the United States Housing Act of 1937 (the “Wagner-Steagall Act”) into law, creating the United States Housing Authority (USHA). Over the course of several years, the USHA makes loans to help construct hundreds of affordable housing developments. Today, public housing is a function of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

During 1937:

The unemployment rate is down to 9.1% (from about 22.9% at the start of Roosevelt’s presidency), gross domestic product rises dramatically again (a 9.6% increase from 1936), the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops to 122 (from 181 in 1936), and there are 75 bank failures – compared to 14,807 bank failures from 1921 through 1933.

June 23, 1938:

President Roosevelt signs the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938. The law improves air commerce, mail delivery, airplane safety, and national defense. It also leads to the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which still exists.

June 24, 1938:

During a Fireside Chat in support of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Roosevelt said to the American People: “Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day, who has been turning his employees over to the Government relief rolls in order to preserve his company’s undistributed reserves, tell you—using his stockholders’ money to pay the postage for his personal opinions—that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry.”

June 25, 1938:

President Roosevelt signs the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law establishes a minimum wage, a standard work week, overtime pay, and also prohibits certain types of child labor. These rules still pertain today.

During 1938:

The New Deal sputters, due to a reduction in public works spending and an attempt by President Roosevelt to balance the budget – the so-called “Roosevelt Recession.” The unemployment rate rises to 12.5% (up from 9.1% in 1937), gross domestic product drops 6.1% from 1937, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average rises to 154 (from 122 in 1937), and there are only 74 bank failures – compared to 14,807 bank failures from 1921 through 1933.

 

Part IV: The Final Years of the New Deal

April 3, 1939:

President Roosevelt signs into law the Reorganization Act of 1939. The reorganization ultimately creates a few new agencies and consolidates others. For example, the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) are both put under the newly-created Federal Works Agency.

May 16, 1939:

A “Food Stamp Plan” is created within the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation (FSCC), planting the seed for our modern Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, still popularly called “Food Stamps”).

June 30, 1939:

The WPA’s Federal Theatre Project (FTP) ends, a victim of congressional angst over racial integration, charges of communism, and perceived “wasteful spending.” The FTP had entertained millions of Americans with performances all across the nation.

July 1, 1939:

The Federal Works Agency (FWA) begins, created by the Reorganization Act of 1939 and subsequent reorganization plans written by the Roosevelt Administration. Under the FWA are brought the Public Works Administration (PWA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA, renamed “Work Projects Administration”), the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR, renamed “Public Roads Administration”), the United States Housing Authority (USHA), and a new agency, the Public Buildings Administration (PBA), which took over the duties and functions of the Public Buildings Branch of the U.S. Treasury. The FWA focuses on the federal, state, and local building needs of the nation (including wartime & defense industry housing and public works).

July 1, 1939:

The Federal Security Agency (FSA) begins, created by the Reorganization Act of 1939 and subsequent reorganization plans written by the Roosevelt Administration. Under the FSA are brought the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), National Youth Administration (NYA), Office of Education, Public Health Service, and Social Security Board. The FSA focuses on the educational, health, employment, and social service needs of the nation.

During 1939:

President Roosevelt and his New Deal policymakers return to public works spending. The unemployment rate drops from 12.5% to 11.3%, gross domestic product rises 7% from 1938, the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops slightly from 154 to 150, and there are 60 bank failures – compared to 14,807 bank failures from 1921 through 1933.

June 30, 1940:

The Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation (FSCC) ends, and it duties and functions are taken over by the Surplus Marketing Administration (pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. III). The FSCC had distributed millions of tons of food and commodities (e.g., blankets) to help those of limited means get through the Great Depression.

November 5, 1940:

President Roosevelt wins his third term as president, beating Republican challenger Wendell Wilkie. Roosevelt wins 449 Electoral College votes (84.6%) to Wilkie’s 82, and 54.7% of the popular vote to Wilkie’s 44.8%.

December 30, 1940:

In its annual report, the U.S. Post Office declares “record earnings” and an “ever-increasing volume of mail.” After suffering through the early years of the Great Depression, the Post Office has experienced steady revenue gains from 1935 on, due in part to New Deal economic policies. The Post Office also benefits from New Deal construction & art activities, with over 1,000 new post offices added, and artwork placed in both old and new post offices.

During 1940:

After seven years of the New Deal, the unemployment rate is 9.5% (compared to about 22.9% at the start of Roosevelt’s presidency – a 58% reduction). From 1939, the gross domestic product has risen another 10.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down to about 131, but still more than twice as high as when Roosevelt took office (the Dow will not rise significantly again until near the end of the war, but the nation’s gross domestic product soars). Between 1934 and 1940, there are a total of 355 bank failures – compared to 14,807 bank failures from 1921 through 1933.

January 6, 1941:

President Roosevelt delivers his Four Freedoms speech (a State of the Union speech), calling for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from want, and freedom from fear, for people “everywhere in the world.”

January 20, 1941:

During his third inaugural address, Roosevelt tells the American people: “Most vital to our present and to our future is this experience of a democracy which successfully survived crisis at home; put away many evil things; built new structures on enduring lines; and, through it all, maintained the fact of its democracy.”

December 7, 1941:

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. About 2,400 people are killed and America’s Pacific fleet is heavily damaged.

December 8, 1941:

President Roosevelt informs Congress: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” America declares war on Japan.

December 11, 1941:

Germany and Italy declare war on the United States.

During 1941:

As World War II expands, more and more of America’s public works spending is devoted to national defense projects.

January 6, 1942:

In his State of the Union speech, Roosevelt emphasizes the need for wide-scale war production and states, “we are fighting on the same side with the British people… the Russian people…the brave people of China…We are fighting today for security, for progress, and for peace, not only for ourselves but for all men, not only for one generation but for all generations. We are fighting to cleanse the world of ancient evils, ancient ills.”

June 30, 1942:

With its funding terminated, and money set aside for its liquidation, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) ends. The men of the CCC had planted 3 billion trees and created, developed, or improved 800 state parks. Many go onto leadership roles in the armed forces.

During 1942:

As war spending and employment in the armed forces & defense industries increase, New Deal agencies devoted to public works and work relief begin to wind down.

January 7, 1943:

During his State of the Union address, Roosevelt elaborated on part of his Four Freedoms speech from 1941: “The people at home, and the people at the front, are wondering a little about the third freedom – freedom from want. To them it means that when they are mustered out, when war production is converted to the economy of peace, they will have the right to expect full employment – full employment for themselves and for all able-bodied men and women in America who want to work… They want no get-rich-quick era of bogus ‘prosperity’ which will end for them in selling apples on a street corner, as happened after the bursting of the boom in 1929.”

June 30, 1943:

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) ends. During its existence (1935-1943) the WPA employed 8.5 million different Americans and greatly modernized & expanded America’s infrastructure.

June 30, 1943:

The Public Works Administration (PWA) is terminated by President Roosevelt with Executive Order No. 9357. All functions, powers, duties, etc. are transferred to the Federal Works Administrator. The PWA had spent about $4 billion helping federal agencies, state governments, and local communities modernize their infrastructure.

July 15, 1943:

The Section of Fine Arts (formerly called the Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture) comes to an end. Between 1933 and 1943, this art program created over 1,000 murals and over 260 sculptures for federal buildings, e.g., post offices. In 1939, the program had been transferred to the newly-created Public Buildings Administration.

During 1943:

The PWA and most New Deal work-relief programs are terminated. However, many of their projects, e.g., ships, hydroelectric power plants, and improvements to military bases, boost America’s war effort.

January 1, 1944:

The National Youth Administration (NYA) program ends. During its 8-year existence, the NYA had employed over 4.7 million young men and women who were in need of assistance. It helped them completed high school & college, offered job training, gave a small paycheck and, through it all, improved the nation – trees planted, buildings constructed, scientific studies performed, etc.

January 11, 1944:

President Roosevelt delivers a “Fireside Chat” State of the Union radio broadcast that will become known as the Second Bill of Rights speech. The president promotes “a new basis of security and prosperity… regardless of station, race, or creed,” and advocates for Americans to have the right to jobs, good wages, freedom from unfair competition, housing, medical care, a good education, and “protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.”

November 7, 1944:

Roosevelt wins his fourth term as president, beating Republican challenger Thomas Dewey. Roosevelt wins 432 Electoral College votes (81.4%) to Dewey’s 99, and 53.4% of the popular vote to Dewey’s 45.9%.

During 1943-44:

The tide of the war turns decisively in favor of the allies. D-Day (June 6, 1944) opens up a western front and marks the beginning of the end of the war.

January 20, 1945:

In his fourth and final inaugural address, Roosevelt states: “Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy.”

April 12, 1945:

President Roosevelt dies in Warm Springs, Georgia. He was 63.

May 8, 1945:

Germany surrenders.

August 15, 1945:

Japan surrenders and the war ends. About 60 million soldiers and civilians were killed during World War II.

During 1945:

The war ends and America emerges as the world’s overwhelming dominant economic and military power, with two-thirds of global manufacturing capacity.

After 1945:

With New Deal policies and infrastructure in place, the post-war economy expands along New Deal roads, across New Deal bridges, and out of New Deal airports. The middle-class experiences unprecedented growth.

June 30, 1949:

The Federal Works Agency (FWA) ends, its function and duties to be carried on by the newly-created General Services Administration (GSA) (pursuant to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949).

July 1, 1949:

The Public Roads Administration reverts back to its pre-1939 name, the “Bureau of Public Roads” (BPR) (pursuant to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949). Planning has already started on a national system of interstate and military highways, which will be built with funding from the 1956 Highway Act.

July 1, 1949:

The Public Buildings Administration (PBA) becomes the “Public Buildings Service,” a component unit of the newly-created General Services Administration (GSA) (pursuant to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949).

April 11, 1953:

The Federal Security Agency (FSA) ends, its duties and responsibilities are taken over by the newly-created Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1953).

February 15, 1955:

The Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration (PRRA) ends (pursuant to a joint resolution of Congress) after 20 years of improving the island’s infrastructure, education, and medical needs.

October 13, 1994:

The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) is terminated by the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994. Its functions are absorbed into the Rural Utilities Service. The same act changes the name of the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) to the “Natural Resources Conservation Service” (NRCS).

Today:

Many New Deal polices & programs still benefit the nation, e.g., Social Security, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Also, much of the infrastructure created by New Deal work programs, e.g., roads built with CWA labor, bridges financed with PWA funds, parks developed by the CCC, and water lines installed by the WPA, are still used by tens of millions of Americans. And New Deal artwork, depicting our shared heritage from the colonial days through the early part of the 20th century, can still be found in many public places.

 

Sources of Economic Data in the Timeline:

Unemployment: (1) Robert A. Margo, “Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Spring 1993), pp. 41-59, using the Darby numbers in Table 1. (2) Michael R. Darby, “Three-And-A-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid; Or, An Explanation of Unemployment, 1934-1941,” Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 84, No. 1 (February 1976), pp. 1-16.

Gross Domestic Product: “Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – Percentage change from preceding period,” U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, https://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm#gdp, data accessed and current through October 3, 2015.

Dow Jones Industrial Average: “DJIA Historical Timeline,” S&P Dow Jones Indices, LLC, https://www.djaverages.com/, accessed October 3, 2015 (once at this site, click on “Interactive Learning Center,” under the “Resource Center” menu selection).

Bank Failures: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, at https://www.fdic.gov/exhibit/p1.html#/10 (Rising Bank Failures) and https://www5.fdic.gov/hsob/SelectRpt.asp?EntryTyp=30 (Historical Statistics on Banking), accessed October 3, 2015.