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FDR and the GI Bill of Rights

FDR Signs GI Bill

FDR signs the G.I. Bill in the Oval Office, with (l to r) Bennett “Champ” Clark, J. Hardin Peterson, John Rankin, Paul Cunningham, Edith N. Rogers, J.M. Sullivan, Walter George, John Stelle, Robert Wagner, (unknown), and Alben Barkley; June 22, 1944. FDR Library Photo Collection, NPx 64-269.

June 22 marks the 68th anniversary of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more popularly known as the GI Bill of Rights. Although World War II was far from over, FDR was determined to plan ahead for a smooth transition to peace, both abroad and at home. The President proposed to Congress a way to level the economic impact of the war’s end and to integrate returning veterans back into American society.

The result was the GI Bill. Now widely credited with creating the post-war middle class, the GI Bill of Rights provided returning veterans with educational benefits, work training, hiring preferences, and subsidized loans for buying homes, businesses and farms. It continues today to be one of the lasting legacies of the Roosevelt administration.

Draft Signing Statement

Draft of President Roosevelt’s statement upon signing the GI Bill into law

Signed GI Bill

Signed copy of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944

Armistice Day, November 11,1941

On November 11, 1941 – seventy years ago – President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his Armistice Day Address at the Amphitheater at the sacred site of Arlington National Cemetery. Although this annual event was a presidential tradition, the speech this year took on special meeting, for the world was again aflame in war. Most of Europe was now under occupation by Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union was valiantly fighting against the German armies. Here at home, FDR’s efforts to render aid to Britain and to build up America’s defenses were opposed by isolationists in Congress and out.

President Roosevelt used his Armistice Day Address to remind the American people why our soldiers had fought and died in World War I: “to make the world habitable for decent and self-respecting men and women” and “to make the world a place where freedom can live and grow into the ages.”

This document is the third draft of the speech from the President’s Master Speech File. FDR received drafting assistance from Archibald MacLeish, the Librarian of Congress. The handwritten changes you see were made by Roosevelt himself.

 

To read the full text of the speech, please go to the following link: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=16041&st=&st1=#axzz1dJvoepek

June 22, 1944: FDR signs the G.I. Bill of Rights which offers educational assistance to veterans.

Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill.
June 22, 1944
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 64-269.

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Did you know:

  • On June 26, 1935 FDR issued the executive order establishing the National Youth Administration.
  • On June 30, 1938 FDR laid the cornerstone of the federal building at the New York World’s Fair in New York City.
  • On June 30, 1941 FDR dedicated the FDR Library in Hyde Park, NY.

June 22, 1944: FDR signs the G.I. Bill of Rights which offers educational assistance to veterans.

Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill.
June 22, 1944
FDR Library Photo Collection. NPx. 64-269.

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The New Deal Estore is a great place to shop for Roosevelt related books, gifts, and other treasures from the New Deal Store at the Roosevelt Library. Available at www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu, the Estore features everything from a selection of the latest books on the Roosevelts and their times, to T-shirts, ties and caps, multimedia, campaign memorabilia, and museum replicas. For items related to this week’s blog post, follow the links below:

Beyond the Bonus March and the GI Bill: How Veteran Politics Shaped the New Deal Era by Stephen R. Ortiz
The GI Bill: A New Deal for Veterans by Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin

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