Stunning New Deal WPA Posters That Helped Lift America Out Of The Great Depression

Published August 20, 2017
Updated January 18, 2018

See the inspiring New Deal WPA posters that helped bring America back from the brink of collapse.

Wpa Posters Skull
New Deal Airport
New Deal Work Poster
New Deal Make Safe
Stunning New Deal WPA Posters That Helped Lift America Out Of The Great Depression
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On March 4, 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president of the United States, and inherited one of the worst economies in American history.

The U.S. was in the throes of the Great Depression, an enormous economic collapse that left most Americans struggling just to get by. At its nadir, as many as one in four Americans was out of work.

Yet, for this great problem, President Roosevelt had a great solution. Within his first 100 days in office, he began pushing legislation through Congress that would come to be known as the New Deal. This initiative encompassed a wide variety of government programs that set out to provide relief for the impoverished and create jobs for the unemployed.

One of the ways in which the New Deal set out to accomplish this was through the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, a vast government agency that, at its peak, employed 3.3 million people. This vast workforce was put to work on thousands of public works projects throughout the country.

Along with manual laborers, the WPA also hired artists and writers to create public art projects and promote the WPA cause. These included a huge number of WPA posters created to promote public works and positive economic habits during these rough economic times.

In the midst of a depression, these beautiful art deco WPA posters were shining bastions of positivity and hope. They encouraged Americans to, among other things, eat healthy, stimulate the economy, and work hard.

Via these WPA posters, the government was able to successfully promote their projects and ideas, and drove Americans to spend money despite the deep depression. Thus, the WPA — along with the renewed need for manufacturing during World War II, of course — helped to lift the United States out of the Great Depression.

WPA posters like those in the gallery above were an essential part of the effort.

After this look at WPA posters, check out these heartbreaking photos from New York during the Great Depression. Then, learn how the Great Depression shaped the African-American experience.

Gabe Paoletti
Gabe Paoletti is a New York City-based writer and a former Editorial Intern at All That's Interesting. He holds a Bachelor's in English from Fordham University.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Paoletti, Gabe. "Stunning New Deal WPA Posters That Helped Lift America Out Of The Great Depression.", August 20, 2017, Accessed April 20, 2024.