What Is the History of the Civil Works Administration?

The Civil Works Administration was a job creation program that ran from November 1933 to March 1934. This temporary agency was part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration ran the program.

Roosevelt created the Civil Works Administration to provide jobs during the Great Depression. He envisioned providing work to all people who received public assistance but were capable of working. Employment under the Civil Works Administration included public works projects such as bridge construction and road improvements. Among its achievements were the laying of 12 million feet of sewer pipe and building or improving 255,000 miles of road. Four million people worked on these projects at a cost of $200 million a month.

There was some criticism of these projects. There were not enough jobs for everyone eligible. Some tasks, such as raking leaves, did not have a long-term value, and Roosevelt's opponents thought the program was a waste of money.

Roosevelt decided to replace the project with the Works Progress Administration, which became the largest New Deal agency. It had similar goals to the Civil Works Administration: providing work to the unemployed on infrastructure and other public works projects. It also funded historic preservation and arts projects.