Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “A Suggestion for Legislation to Create the Tennessee Valley Authority,” 1933.

In 1933, as a part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal agenda, Congress chartered the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the first large federal regional planning project. The TVA provided electrical power, flood control, and economic development to Tennessee and other deep south states hit hardest by the Depression. In this April 1933 address, Roosevelt calls on Congress to approve of the TVA; Congress did so a month later, and it remains in operation to the present day.

How does Roosevelt link the concepts of “idleness,” “usefulness,” and “waste” to the need for environmental planning through government action?

How did he imagine  the TVA transcending “mere power development” to transform the region, and, ultimately, the nation?


Roosevelt, Franklin D. “Message to Congress Suggesting the Tennessee Valley Authority.” In The Year of Crisis, 122-29. Vol. 2 of The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt With a Special Introduction and Explanatory Notes by President Roosevelt. New York: Random House, 1938.

Library Item Date: