The New Deal
May 27, 1938: Eleanor Roosevelt visits Arthurdale, West Virginia

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her square dance partner promenaded down the aisle of clapping onlookers in the Arthurdale High School Auditorium.

Five years had passed since Mrs. Roosevelt helped to establish the resettlement community of Arthurdale, West Virginia, and she wanted to be on hand to celebrate the graduation of its first high school senior class.

In 1933 in the midst of the Depression, the federal government persuaded a number of families to move from Morgantown, West Virginia, where most farm families could barely eke out a living, to Arthurdale. Residents there would ideally be able to remain employed and self-sufficient during the year by combining subsistence farming with small industry. To encourage people to make the move to Arthurdale, the federal government promised that each family would have a house with plumbing and electricity, a plot of land, and a job in a near-by factory.

Arthurdale was the first of the government-sponsored communities established by the Resettlement Administration, one of President Roosevelt's New Deal programs. These communities gave hope to people mired in the Depression. Under the President's leadership, the United States government assumed a new responsibility for the welfare of the American people and for the future of the nation's economy.


1. In what year did Eleanor Roosevelt help establish Arthurdale?

2. If subsistence farming means producing just enough food for survival, what did the Resettlement Administration also provide that would help family finances?

3. In your own judgment, what obstacles might the resettlement program face?

4. Why did the author use the word "ideally" in the second sentence of the second paragraph?

5. How well do you think this program worked? (a) Succeeded beyond all expectations (b) Achieved what it set out to do (c) The program had moderate success (d) Failed miserably.

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