Tennessee Valley Authority

Tennessee Valley Authority In 1933, Congress created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a federal corporation. TVA was perhaps the most original and broad reaching program to come from FDR’s ‘New Deal’ to put America back on its feet. The TVA was created to improve and develop the Tennessee River Basin which reached across 7 states in the South ‘…an act to improve the navigability and to provide for the flood control of the Tennessee River; to provide for reforestation and the proper use of marginal lands in the Tennessee Valley; to provide for the agricultural and industrial development of said valley; to provide for the National Defense…’ One of the main concerns of the TVA was to bring electricity to the rural areas in the Valley where few people had access to electricity. Power companies argued that it was too expensive to string the necessary lines to bring power to rural areas. FDR believed that if private enterprise could not supply electric power to those people, then it was the Government’s responsibility to do so. In 1935, the Rural Electric Administration (REA) was created in order to bring power to the people. In a 1935 article, Morris Cooke, the head of REA, stated that… ‘In addition to paying the energy he used, the farmer was expected to advance to the power company most or all of the costs of construction…such costs were prohibitive for most farmers. In addition to electric power, the TVA built dams to provide other benefits. The dams serve to increase the water supply in the region, provide flood control and also lakes for recreation. There are nine major dams in the area, which created a navigation channel from Knoxville, TN to Paducah, KY. The channel connects the Ohio River and serves to lower flooding on the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Reforestation from flood damage, agricultural assistant and many other programs came from the development of the TVA. FDR’s program brought jobs to m…

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