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Initiated in 1933, just days after the inauguration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), the New Deal encompassed a vast array of legislation designed to relieve the homelessness, unemployment, and failed economy of the Great Depression, to bring about recovery on America's farms and industry, and to reform the economic and social problems which precipitated the depression. More than just an attempt to get the economy back on track, the New Deal also sought to reinvigorate American ideals, traditions, and expression through a series of cultural programs designed to elevate folk art and bring the elite arts to the masses. In doing so, the New Deal left a legacy of public art, literature, music, theater, and photography, while also influencing the popular media of radio and film.

Seeking to further aid in recovery in 1935, FDR established the Works Progress Administration (WPA, later called the Works Projects Administration). This vast...

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