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FDR created the WPA on this day in history 81 years ago

President Franklin Roosevelt created the WPA on this day in 1933. (May 6, 1933).
President Franklin Roosevelt created the WPA on this day in 1933. (May 6, 1933).
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On this day in history, May 6, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) created the Work Progress Administration, (WPA). The program was created during the height of the Great Depression as part of the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act, which had been signed into law by Roosevelt the previous month. Roosevelt did not believe in relief programs that simply provided funds to recipients who were healthy enough to work and so he created the WPA as a means of creating work for those who were on relief, according to on this day.

The workers on the WPA program built hospitals, schools, airports, highways and even playgrounds. On all of the construction projects on which they worked, the WPA workers implanted an embossed circular insignia that read WPA followed by the year in which the work was completed. Those insignias still can be found to this day on sidewalks, libraries, hospitals, highways, and schools and serve as a permanent testimony to Roosevelt's earnest and sincere commitment to his principles of providing meaningful, substantive work for workers on relief.

The WPA also provided work for actors, writers, artists and other creative people and sponsored federally funded live performances, murals, art projects and literary productions. In an effort to protect private industry, Roosevelt put wage and price controls on federally sponsored performances, products and services.

Because of Republican opposition to Roosevelt's New Deal (of which the WPA was an integral part) and because of the approaching American involvement in World War II, much of the funding for the WPA was curtailed. By 1940 the program had been decimated almost entirely. America's involvement in World War II started a year later on December 7, 1941, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

Franklin Roosevelt was the thirty-second President of the United States, and the only President ever to be elected to four terms of office. He defeated incumbent President Herbert Hoover who had promised "A chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage." But the Great Depression had mitigated Hoover's promise, thus paving the way for Roosevelt's election to the Presidency.

Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 after having created the WPA, declared December 7, 1941 "A day that shall live in infamy," and served as a leading figure among the allies during World War II. During his Presidency, Roosevelt was to have three Vice-Presidents, the latest of which, Harry S. Truman, had only been Vice-President for one month upon succeeding Roosevelt when he died.

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