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Abstract

On May 6, 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7034 to create and appropriate federal funds for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression. This agency initiated a government that was committed to serving the people and alleviating their dire conditions. By focusing on Roosevelt, New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and New York Congressman John O'Connor, this study demonstrates the role that political relationships played in the passage of WPA agendas, the extent to which these efforts succeeded, and the significance of working across governmental levels and party lines in order to achieve their diverse objectives. The amicable relationship between Roosevelt and La Guardia, in comparison with the hostile interactions between Roosevelt and O’Connor, displayed how the interplay between public officials was vital in determining the success of the WPA in New York City during the Depression. This exceptional political dynamic revealed the complex nature of politics during an era of national hardship and exposed the various considerations and decisions that had to be made during the policymaking process in the 1930s.

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