Not a Bad Deal that New Deal

Civilian Conservation Corps

The CCC or Civilian Conservation Corps was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 within the first 100 days of his first term as president. The concept was to put a quarter million unemployed men to work rebuilding the “environment” that had been allowed to suffer from decades of neglect and greed.

Out of this economic chaos emerged the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  Its purpose was two-fold — conservation of our natural resources and the salvage of our young men.  The CCC is recognized as the single greatest conservation program in America and it served as a catalyst to develop the very tenets of modern conservation.  The work of America’s young men dramatically changed the future and today we still enjoy a legacy of natural resource treasures that dot the American landscape.

A 2009 American Experience documentary, available on DVD or here for free download, is possibly one of the most moving and uplifting documentaries I’ve seen. It tells the story through the experiences of four men who took part in the CCC and garnered the hope and optimism instilled by this New Deal program, which taught a work ethic and useful skills. The CCC even taught sign making and commercial art.


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