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Poster, reading "NRA member: We Do Our Part," displayed by businsses supporting the National Recovery Administration, 1933-1935.

Introduction

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt External Link was inaugurated in March 1933, one quarter of the work force, (representing approximately 13 million workers in the United States), was out of work. This was in the midst of the Great Depression, and even those fortunate enough to have jobs worked under unfavorable conditions. Overproduction in the 1920's led to inflation, and in 1929 the Wall Street Crash flattened the United States' economy. This infamous catastrophe resulted in a level of production in 1933 significantly less than what it had been just four years earlier.

The National Recovery Administration (NRA):
An Inventory of Publications in the Collections of the Library of Congress

 Table of Contents

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Introduction
Administrative Materials
History of Codes
Codes of Fair Competition
Statistical Materials
Working Papers
Press Releases
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Image (left): NRA Blue Eagle
Courtesy of Wikipedia
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Despite several claims in the Senate that the Act would concentrate power and money with the largest corporations, the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) passed the House of Representatives in a mere seven days although passage in the Senate proved more difficult. Signed into law on June 16, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Act was administered in part by the National Recovery Administration (NRA), which was established after the passage of the Act, as an independent agency by Executive Order (EO) 6173.External Link The official documents of the agency can be found at the National Archives.External Link

One of several New Deal programs, NIRA was broadly intended to spread available work among a larger number of workers by a) limiting hours and launching a public works program and b) increasing individuals' purchasing power by establishing minimum wage rates. Generally speaking, NIRA legalized collective bargaining and exempted businesses from anti-trust laws that barred anticompetitive practices. The proposition and enforcement of codes of fair competition were left to trade associations of specific industries. The Act was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in May 1935 with the Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States decision [295 U.S. 495 (1935)], and was abolished January 1, 1936, by EO 7252.External Link

In a short two years, 557 Codes were approved by the President, and hundreds more were proposed and either revised or not approved. There are over 11,000 documented press releases, almost one hundred sets of working papers, and innumerable amendments, supplements, and revisions, most of which are housed in the General Collections of the Library of Congress.

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  April 9, 2012
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