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Letters from an American: The Social Security Act of 1935 and Frances Perkins

August 14, 2021

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American

“On this day in 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law.  … 

“The … Act is known for its payments to older Americans, but it did far more than that. It established unemployment insurance; aid to homeless, dependent, and neglected children; funds to promote maternal and child welfare; and public health services. It was a sweeping reworking of the relationship of the government to its citizens, using the power of taxation to pool funds to provide a basic social safety net.

“The driving force behind the law was FDR’s Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins. She was the first woman to hold a position in the U.S. Cabinet and still holds the record for having the longest tenure in that job: she lasted from 1933 to 1945.”

To read more about this historic event and the influence of Frances Perkins, go to Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters from an American,” Augusta 14, 2021. (NOTE: You do not need to subscribe to read this content. If you reach a log-in page, you may select the “I choose to read it first” option.) 

Go here to view AWTT’s portrait, featured quote and short biography of Frances Perkins.

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