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Soon after taking office, Franklin Roosevelt boldly proposed the Civilian Conservation Corps as a way to create jobs and hope during the Great Depression. Within three months, not only had Congress acted but 250,000 young men were at work in the woods. The country cheered and the CCC went on to become the most popular program of the New Deal. As President Obama and Congress seek ways to create jobs today, the lesson of the CCC should be well remembered. Skeptics will say that it was World War II, not the New Deal, that ultimately ended the Depression -- and they have a point. But what they forget is that in its early years, through the CCC and related efforts, unemployment fell sharply from 24.8% in 1933 to 14.2% in 1937. Wouldn't we celebrate that kind of change today?


Gergen, David, and Michael Brown. "AmeriCorps, Today's Depression-era CCC.", September 7, 2011.