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Civilian Conservation Corps

CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS

CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS. Because of his fervent commitment to preserving natural resources, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) the first recovery and relief bill he submitted to Congress. Enacted swiftly on 21 March 1933, the CCC remedy of healthy outdoor work for jobless youth had the highest public approval of any New Deal legislation. Roosevelt even used its appeal to persuade desperate World War I veterans to call off their protest demand for early payment of service bonuses and instead accept enrollment in the CCC as a way to ease their economic plight.

During its nine-year existence the CCC enlisted nearly 3 million single men between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five to work at erosion control, fire prevention, land reclamation, and pest eradication. Concentrating on forest management, the CCC accounted for more than half of all the tree-planting in the United States through the twentieth century. For their service, enrollees received $30 monthly, $25 of which they were required to send home to their families.

Organization of the CCC was shared widely. The Department of Labor selected the men enrolled, the Department of War administered the work camps with army officers, and the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior devised and supervised the projects. Roosevelt chose Robert Fechner as director partly because he had the practical and fiscally cautious qualifications the president favored for such leadership and partly because Fechner's


position as vice president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) allayed union concerns about meager pay and military regimentation.

As with other relief programs, affording aid to all in need faced problems. Camp commanders drawn from a segregated army and Fechner, who was raised in Georgia with conventional southern views, were not inclined to heed the legislative amendment added by the only black member of Congress, Representative Oscar De Priest of Illinois, that "no discrimination shall be made on account of race, color, or creed." Ultimately pressure from the Department of Labor opened the program to blacks. By 1938 the number of blacks reached 11 percent, and by the end of the program over two hundred thousand blacks had served. Less fortunate in finding a place were women, who were excluded altogether in the original act. Only at Eleanor Roosevelt's insistence did eighty-six camps enrolling 8,500 women briefly flourish before Congress eliminated the women's section in 1937.

Camp management included the usual New Deal emphasis on education as the key to rising from disadvantage. Over 100,000 young men who arrived at camps in a woefully weak and deprived state not only rounded into good shape but also learned to read. At a higher level almost 5,000 enrollees completed high school, and another 2,700 earned college degrees.

Roosevelt always believed the CCC was one of the New Deal's best achievements. However, because World War II absorbed the unemployed, the program ended in 1942. Despite later problems with unemployed youth and a damaged environment, general aversion to collective government action prevented any kind of revival of the CCC concept.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bernstein, Irving. "Social Programs in Action." In A Caring Society: The New Deal, the Worker, and the Great Depression. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.

Hill, Edwin G. In the Shadow of the Mountain: The Spirit of the CCC. Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1990.

Salmond, John A. The Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933–1942: A New Deal Case Study. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1967. The standard survey.

AlanLawson

See alsoGreat Depression ; New Deal ; World War II .

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Civilian Conservation Corps

CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS


Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a federal agency created in 1933 as part of the New Deal program of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (18821945). Originally called Emergency Conservation Work, CCC had its name formally changed to Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, when Congress extended its period of operation. To minimize the effects of the Great Depression, CCC was given responsibility for conserving the nation's resources, in particular timber, soil, and water. CCC was designed to provide jobs for unmarried men between the ages of 17 and 25, who would receive a base pay of $30 per month for a six-month stint. Normally, $25 of their monthly pay was sent home to the workers' families. Food, clothing, and shelter were provided to CCC workers at no charge. Although the men who served in the CCC were required to live in work camps run by the Department of War, they were not subject to military control. Conservation training included instruction on how to plant trees, build dams, and fight forest fires. Approximately 3 million men served in 2,600 camps during CCC's ten years of existence, with enrollment peaking at about 500,000. With the outbreak of World War II (19391945), the production of industrial materials and munitions was emphasized at the expense of resource conservation. In 1942 Congress voted to abolish CCC, and the president's order for liquidation followed within six months.

See also: Great Depression, New Deal, Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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"Civilian Conservation Corps." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Civilian Conservation Corps

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), established in 1933 by the U.S. Congress as a measure of the New Deal program. The CCC provided work and vocational training for unemployed single young men through conserving and developing the country's natural resources. At its peak in 1935, the organization had more than 500,000 members in over 2,600 camps. These were usually operated by the War Dept., but the men were not subject to military control. In 1939 the CCC was made part of the Federal Security Agency. Beginning in 1940, greater emphasis was placed on projects aiding national defense. Against President Franklin D. Roosevelt's request, Congress abolished the CCC in 1942.

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"Civilian Conservation Corps." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Civilian Conservation Corps." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/civilian-conservation-corps