The Civil Works Administration


The Civil Works Administration was created to help with the four million plus people without jobs. The jobs created by the CWA helped in building 500,000 miles of roads, schools ,airports, and playgrounds for children. The CWA was created in the fall of 1933 and was ended the following spring.

CWA Emblem
1. Was the first public employment experiment of the New Deal.

2. By January of 1934 it had given jobs to exactly four million people.

3. Started a lot of projects that were later used by the WPA.

4. Took millions of people using the federal relief assistance program off the federal handout and gave them jobs and regular wages.

5. Showed the ethics of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his relief administrator, Harry Hopkins.

6. One of the most impressive procedure trials of the New Deal.

7. Within the first month and a half it employed around three and a half million people.

8. Employed engineers, efficiency experts, and professionals in the field of labor relations.

9. Employed women in modern workshops, sewing clothing for the unemployed.

10. Was extremely popular.

Roosevelt and Hopkins were both afraid that the Federal Relief Program would regulate an enduring national handout. Toward the end of October, Hopkins assistant (Aubrey Williams) forced him to suggest a large increase of public employment. It would take lots of "employable" recipients off the federal rolls and also give jobs to millions of unemployed workers who were not on relief. The program ended up being funded by the large unspent balances of the New Deal's slow-moving public works program, the PWA. Hopkins showed the plan to the president on October 29 and it was instantly accepted. Hopkins estimated that around ten million workers "walked up to a window and stood in line, many of them all night, asking for a job."

The unstable history of CWA once made historians see the program as a wellborn but uncontrolled experiment, devastated by distortion and wastefulness. Recent research has suggested that projects were fairly well run and showed a considerable improvement over traditional "made work." The CWA experiment also greatly amplified support for public employment, creating pressure within the New Deal and in Congress for the administration to stop the general relief grant program and launch the WPA in 1935.
Sewing Center
Harry Hopkins

Novel Guide
2009. 3 March 2009