The National Recovery Act (NRA) was established just four days after the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), the first piece of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal legislation. The NRA supervised fair trade codes and guaranteed laborers a right to collective bargaining.
Illustration courtesy the National Archives Administration

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  • On June 16, 1933, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), the first piece of his landmark “New Deal” legislation. The New Deal sought to combat the Great Depression. New Deal programs focused on the “three Rs: Relief, Recovery, and Reform.”
    The NIRA was divided into two sections. The first section addressed industry: strengthening labor rights, establishing health and safety standards, and guaranteeing economic competition. The second section established the Public Works Administration (PWA). The PWA was a construction program that built infrastructure such as dams, bridges, post offices, schools, and hospitals.
    The NIRA and the PWA were just the start of the New Deal’s “alphabet soup” of federal agencies. The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) put people to work on conservation and development of public lands, such as parks and forests. The NYA (National Youth Administration) focused on providing employment for men and women between the ages of 16 and 25. The WPA (Works Progress Administration) supported projects ranging from road construction to world-class arts programs: the formation of music ensembles, theater performances, murals and other artworks, and a series of state guidebooks.
    Some of the “alphabet agencies” are still important today. The TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) provides electricity and flood control to the Tennessee Valley of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) continues to be the authority for all civil aviation in the U.S. The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) guarantees the safety of a depositor’s accounts in member banks. The SSA (Social Security Administration) provides retirement and disability benefits.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    authority Noun

    person or organization responsible for making decisions.

    aviation Noun

    the art and science of creating and operating aircraft.

    bank Noun

    organization that loans, protects, and exchanges money to and from individuals and organizations.

    civilian Noun

    person who is not in the military.

    conservation Noun

    management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

    Encyclopedic Entry: conservation
    construct Verb

    to build or erect.

    disability Noun

    physical or psychological handicap.

    economic Adjective

    having to do with money.

    electricity Noun

    set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge.

    employment Noun

    job or work.

    ensemble Noun

    group performance, or the group itself.

    establish Verb

    to form or officially organize.

    federal Adjective

    having to do with a nation's government (as opposed to local or regional government).

    flood Noun

    overflow of a body of water onto land.

    Encyclopedic Entry: flood
    Great Depression Noun

    (1929-1941) period of very low economic activity in the U.S. and throughout the world.

    guarantee Verb

    to promise or confirm.

    industry Noun

    activity that produces goods and services.

    infrastructure Noun

    structures and facilities necessary for the functioning of a society, such as roads.

    labor Noun

    work or employment.

    landmark Adjective

    significant event or achievement.

    legislation Noun

    law, legal act, or statute.

    mural Noun

    artwork painted directly on a wall.

    New Deal Noun

    (1933-1938) series of U.S. government programs intended to provide economic "relief, recovery, and reform" to Americans during the Great Depression.

    public Adjective

    available to an entire community, not limited to paying members.

    retire Verb

    to voluntarily stop or reduce the number of hours worked.