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National Recovery Administration (NRA) and the New Deal: A Resource Guide

Beginning in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated a series of “New Deal” programs with the goal of getting the U.S. out of the Depression. This guide provides print and electronic resources for researching the NRA and other related recovery efforts.


National Recovery Administration. NRA member, we do our part. 1933. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The Great Depression was a global crisis in the 1930's affecting all countries including the United States. One quarter of the work force, was out of work and those fortunate enough to have jobs worked under unfavorable conditions. Overproduction in the 1920's led to inflation, and in 1929 the Wall Street Crash flattened the United States' economy. This infamous catastrophe resulted in a level of production in 1933 significantly less than what it had been just four years earlier.

In the United States, there were various attempts to improve the country's economy including the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) chartered by the Herbert Hoover administration in 1932 where aid was given to state and local governments and loans were made to banks, railroads, farm mortgage associations, and other businesses. In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became president and he began pushing legislation collectively called the "New Deal."

National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)

Signed into law on June 16, 1933 by President  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this Act was administered in part by the National Recovery Administration (NRA), which was established after the passage of NIRA as an independent agency by Executive Order (EO) 6173.

One of several "New Deal" programs, NIRA was broadly intended to spread available work among a larger number of workers by a) limiting hours and launching a public works program and b) increasing individuals' purchasing power by establishing minimum wage rates. Generally speaking, NIRA legalized collective bargaining and exempted businesses from anti-trust laws that barred anticompetitive practices. The proposition and enforcement of Codes of Fair Competition were left to trade associations of specific industries. In a short two years, 557 Codes were approved by the President, and hundreds more were proposed and either revised or not approved. However, the Act was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in May 1935 with the Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States decision [295 U.S. 495 (1935)], and was abolished January 1, 1936, by EO 7252.

More about Roosevelt and the NRA

Below are a few links to documents and resources directly related to the National Recovery Administration or President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Part of the Science & Business Reading Room at the Library of Congress, the Business Section is the starting point for conducting research at the Library of Congress in the subject areas of business and economics. Here, reference specialists in specific subject areas of business assist patrons in formulating search strategies and gaining access to the information and materials contained in the Library's rich collections of business and economics materials.