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Today in history: The advent of the WPA
In 1933, FDR created the Works Progress Administration, putting 3 million people to work
 
Young men carrying kitbags are off to work in California in 1933 as part of Roosevelt's New Deal.
Young men carrying kitbags are off to work in California in 1933 as part of Roosevelt's New Deal. Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

May 6, 1933: President Franklin Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA put three million people to work in return for giving them financial assistance. FDR was opposed to welfare for people who were able to work. Those getting assistance were required to help build schools, roads, and hospitals; others restored theaters, wrote plays, etc. Congressional opponents of the WPA scaled it back over time; it was suspended during World War II, when the U.S. economy quickly returned to full employment.

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