Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ronald Reagan on the Great Depression, FDR, and the WPA

On the Great Depression:

“They were cheerless, desperate days. I don’t think anyone who did not live through the Depression can ever understand how difficult it was. In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, ‘the country was dying by inches.’ There were millions of people out of work. The unemployment rate across the country was over twenty-six percent. Every day the radio crackled with announcements warning people not to leave home in search of work because, the announcer said, there were no jobs to be found anywhere. There were no jobs, and for many, it seemed as if there was no hope.”


“(FDR) entered the White House facing a national emergency as grim as any the country has ever faced and, acting quickly, he had implemented a plan of action to deal with the crisis. During his Fireside Chats, his strong, gentle, confident voice resonated across the nation with an eloquence that brought comfort and resilience to a nation caught up in a storm and reassured us that we could lick any problem. I will never forget him for that.”

On the WPA:

“The WPA was one of the most productive elements of FDR's alphabet soup of agencies because it put people to work building roads, bridges, and other gave men and women a chance to make some money along with the satisfaction of knowing they earned it.”

(Quotes from Ronald Reagan: An American Life, by Ronald Reagan, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1990)

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