National Industrial Recovery Act 

U.S. #732 was issued to gain support for the NRA.

On June 16, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation passing the National Industrial Recovery Act.

In the presidential election of 1932, Democratic nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt promised a “new deal” for the “forgotten man.” Reacting to the ineffectiveness of the Hoover administration in meeting people’s needs during the Great Depression, Americans overwhelmingly voted in favor of this promise.

One of Roosevelt’s first moves after taking office was convincing Congress to pass his National Recovery Act. The act was a direct result of the general business decline during the Great Depression. Roosevelt and his advisors blamed part of the cause of the Depression on unrestrained competition. Leading businessmen and trade associations were called upon to draft the specifics of the plan, which focused on fair trade and labor practices. It was first introduced to the House on May 17. After passing the House and Senate on June 10 and June 13, it was signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 16, 1933.

U.S. #732 FDC – 1933 NRA First Day Cover.

The National Industrial Recovery Act authorized Roosevelt to regulate industry in order to raise prices after severe deflation and stimulate the economy. A second title in the National Recovery Act established the Public Works Administration, outlining the public works the bill would fund. The act also created the National Recovery Administration (NRA) to enforce the new law.

U.S. #3185e honors several New Deal programs, including the NRA.

To gain support for the NRA, Roosevelt requested the creation of a new stamp, which he emphasized must be “issued at once to be most effective.” After Roosevelt suggested the stamp, it was produced and placed on sale in just 13 working days.

Roosevelt was pleased with the stamp, which he called “grand.” However, the public was divided. Some remarked on the way the farmer carried his scythe on his left shoulder, which is rarely done by real farmers. Others noticed the characters were walking in step except the businessman, which they interpreted as meaning he wasn’t looking ahead to recovery as the others were. And some pointed out that while four people were portrayed, they only shared 7 legs between them.

U.S. #3185e – 1998 New Deal First Day Cover includes an NRA poster in the cachet.

In 1935, the act was found to be unconstitutional by a unanimous Supreme Court decision.

Click here to read the full text of the act.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

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  1. In the midst of the most difficult economic times in the history of the country FDR’s NRA is declared unconstitutional. Quite the inauspicious start for one of most successful administrations ever.

  2. A little short on info, especially given the importance of The New Deal and the richness of subject matter regarding the Labour movement, WPA, and the country trying to recover from The Depression.

  3. It wasn’t “Unrestrained competition” that caused the depression it was that Business
    was expanding BUT the money supply, tied to the gold standard, could not expand
    and there was little capital for increased economic activity. The other cause was the low
    amount an investor had to put down on stock purchases, which were at about 5%. If
    the stock went up he made a good profit on a little down. Problem was if the stock
    decreased went down people could not cover the deficit. This led to a general
    collapse of the stock market in Oct., 1929 and this led, and along with tight money
    supplies, led to a serious economic slow down. The Republican led Congress. alarmed
    by the decreasing tax funds coming in raised taxes, about the WORST thing you can
    due during a recession. This action by Congress reduced the amount available
    for investment and by 1932 the economy was in total collapse. There was actually
    nothing Hoover could do because Congress blocked ANY policy he put forward.
    FDR was fortunate that he got a friendly Democrat controlled Congress that rubber
    stamped his efforts. Of course FDR was boiling mad when the Supreme Court struck
    down the NRA as unconstitutional and he tried to get the court expanded to 15 members
    from its current 9 so that he could have a loaded court. It was struck down but since he
    served for 13 years he got to appoint enough Judges to have the Majority he wanted.

  4. An interesting article that I’ll add to my FDR material for the presentation (still in the pondering stage) of FDR on Stamps for my local club. So is that really FDR striding along? And I guess they made up for the missing leg with the extra finger on the Monaco stamp several years later. I think most of us collectors love history and this era is one of my favorites, no doubt in part because I didn’t live through it. Thanks!

  5. Actually, it’s these commentaries along with the stamps that make this site interesting. A big contributing factor in causing the Great Depression is that the Republican Congress and administrations in the 1920’s cut taxes on the wealthy, thereby giving them plenty of extra money to “play” the stock market, speculate in Florida real estate, etc. Stock prices were inflated far beyond their actual value paving the way for a crash which occurred in late 1929. It’s the old “trickle down” theory…cut taxes on the wealthy and the big corporations, and the money will “trickle” down to the middle class and the poor. I t didn’t work then and it has never worked since although Republicans continue to push it.

  6. The event occurred on this date. The stamp commemorates the event. The text gives a brief but sufficient explanation and there is an option marked click here to read the full text of the act if you’ve got an hour or two to read the decree. Thank you Mystic for the clear, concise condensation version as well as the option to occupy time productively in the event of insomnia.

  7. I know of the article concerning the “seven legs” on he stamp. And to know that farmers do not carry the scythe on their left shoulder. Thank you Mr Kenneth Snyder and Conrad Gaunt for your mention of the various moves that lead to the “Collapse of ’29”.

  8. Hey Mr. Cid. This is a great start to a very interesting topic. I find your comment typical these days, and suggest you take the time to enlighten those of us that truly enjoy these snippets of history. Rather than express your disappointment relating to the content, take the time to discover the facts you seem to want and express them to the rest of us. Don and his team always find creative ways to validate these great times in history, and I for one, appreciate their efforts. Take the time to investigate the subject and add the stamp to your collection. Let us all know how that brightens your life.

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