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