Civilian Conservation Corps

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Civilian Conservation Corps workers at Fort Ancient.jpg
Civilian Conservation Corps workers at Fort Ancient, 1934. Fort Ancient, built 2,000 years ago by prehistoric Native Americans, is an earthworks with 18,000 feet of earthen walls enclosing 100 acres. It is located in Warren County, Ohio and maintained as a state memorial by the Ohio Historical Society.

On March 31, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was part of Roosevelt's New Deal. Roosevelt hoped that his New Deal would allow Americans to cope with the Great Depression, would help end the current economic downturn, and would help prevent another depression from occurring in the future.

The Civilian Conservation Corps hired unemployed American men between eighteen and twenty-five years of age to work on various government projects. These projects focused upon road construction, flood control, reforestation, and soil erosion prevention. CCC workers also improved or constructed local, state, and national parks. Government officials organized the CCC like a military unit, with workers living in camps, wearing uniforms, and serving in individual under the command of officers. CCC workers received thirty dollars per month in pay, but the government sent twenty-five dollars of that monthly income to the worker's family. The CCC covered the basic living expenses -- food, clothing, and housing -- for each worker. Government officials sent the bulk of a worker's income home to his family to help his relatives cope with the Great Depression.

The Civilian Conservation Corps eventually provided employment to nearly three million men by the program's end. Men of all races participated in the CCC, but workers were segregated into units based upon their race. At its peak, the CCC employed 500,000 men at one time. Ohio men also found work with the CCC, with approximately fourteen thousand Ohioans employed with the CCC every year that the program existed. Thanks to the CCC's employment opportunities, many Ohioans were able to cope with the Great Depression. The CCC also benefited Ohioans in other ways, including providing them with improved parks and flood and soil erosion control projects. Perhaps the CCC's most important contribution to Ohio, beyond employing some of the state's residents, was the continued development of the Muskingum Conservancy District. The Civilian Conservation Corps remained in effect until 1942. By this point in time, the Great Depression had ended, and unemployment had dropped tremendously due to the creation of thousands of jobs associated with World War II.

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