The New Deal's Legacy

Skyline Drive, From Front Royal, VA to Rockfish Gap, VA , Luray, Page County, VA. One of the first of two Civilian Conservation Corps camps located in the national parks was established at Skyland in the Shenandoah Valley. Skyline Drive, the bulk of which was built by the men of the CCC, still runs through the Shenandoah National Park.

FDR’s 3 Rs -- Relief, Reform, and Recovery -- aimed not only to alleviate the hardships of the Depression at the time he implemented them, but also to safeguard against any recurring financial disasters at the scale of the Great Depression: to make America a better, safer place for its citizens. The programs FDR implemented, therefore, had long-lasting effects on America’s social, cultural, infrastructural, and economic landscapes. The legacy of the New Deal comprised both an escape from the harsh economic realities of Great Depression and a gradual shift in the structure of government agencies and national projects, the legacy of which still endures today.

Among the changes prompted by the New Deal, those with the most notable lingering effects are those for which we can still see physical evidence: utilities, transportation, and national parks. Projects overseen by the Works Progress Administration, the Rural Electrification Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Civilian Conservation Corps contributed to the large-scale reemployment efforts of the New Deal, yet the work their employees performed remains integral to the American landscape as we know it today.