Yip asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

I need some information on the Tennessee Valley Authority part of FDR's New Deal.?

Can anyone help? I need to know some positive and Negative effects of the Authority for a presentation on Power point. Gracias


Just from the 1930's, how it affected the Depression. Who what when where why result.

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Now for an answer that you can actually read and use from a real historian:

    Positive effects:

    1. It lowered the rate people in the Tennessee Valley region had to pay for electricity by nearly 80% thus helping making more homes electrified than ever before.

    2. It helped industry spread into that region of the country now that cheap electricity was made available

    3. It created tens of thousands of jobs for those that built and maintained the dam, those that built and maintained the powere plants along the line, those that maintained the power lines, those that created businesses that drew power from the dams, and those associated in any way with the management of the electricy.

    4. It generated tax dollars in the region thanks to the paychecks families received for working with the dam

    5. The increased tax dollars helped provide better schools and public services

    Negative effects:

    1. It damaged the environment by flooding areas of forest land as the water from the dams backed up, damaging the natural habitat of animals in the region.

    And that is about it. There are not many negative results of the TVA. It was BY FAR the most successful of ALL the New Deal programs extablished by Roosevelt and the New Deal braintrust.

    And there you have it.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the act creating the TVA on May 18, 1933.

    As a supplier of electric power, the agency was given authority to enter into long term (20 years) contracts for the sale of power to government agencies and private entities, to construct electric power transmission lines to areas not otherwise supplied and to establish rules and regulations for electricity retailing and distribution. The TVA is thus both a power supplier and a regulator.

    Today the TVA is the nation's largest public power company, providing electric power to nearly 8.5 million customers in the Tennessee Valley. It acts primarily as an electric power wholesaler, selling to 158 retail power distributors and 61 directly served industrial or government customers. Power comes from dams providing hydroelectric power, fossil-fuel plants, nuclear power plants, combustion turbines, and wind turbines.

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the TVA ActDuring the 1920s and the Great Depression years Americans began to support the idea of government ownership of utilities, particularly hydroelectric power facilities. The concept of government-owned generation facilities selling to publicly owned distribution utilities was controversial and remains so today (Hubbard, pp 5-27).

    Many believed privately owned power companies were charging too much for power, did not employ fair operating practices, and were subject to abuse by their owners (utility holding companies), at the expense of consumers. During his presidential campaign Roosevelt claimed that private utilities had "selfish purposes" and said, "Never shall the federal government part with its sovereignty or with its control of its power resources while I'm president of the United States." By forming utility holding companies, the private sector controlled 94 percent of generation by 1921, essentially unregulated. (This gave rise to Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA)). Many private companies in the Tennessee Valley were bought by the federal government. Others shut down, unable to compete with the TVA. Government regulations were also passed to prevent competition with the TVA.

    On the other hand there were conservatives who believed the government should not participate in the electricity generation business, fearing government ownership would lead to the misuse of hydroelectric sites. The TVA was one of the first federal hydropower agencies, and today most of the nation's major hydropower systems are federally managed. Attempts to create TVA-like regional agencies failed, such as a proposed Columbia Valley Authority for the Columbia River.

    Regional power consumers may benefit from lower-cost electricity supplied from TVA's network of 29 power-producing hydropower facilities. Supporters of the TVA, though, note that the agency's management of the Tennessee River system without appropriated federal funding saves federal taxpayers millions of dollars annually. Opponents, such as Dean Russell in The TVA Idea, in addition to condemning the project as being socialist, argued that the TVA created a "hidden loss" by preventing the creation of "factories and jobs that would have come into existence if the government had allowed the taxpayers to spend their money as they wished." Defenders note that the TVA is overwhelmingly popular in Tennessee among conservatives and liberals alike, as Barry Goldwater discovered in 1964 when he proposed selling the agency.[1]

    One study says that public utilities are inadequate on maintenance. They note that federally owned power systems spend significantly less than private systems on this. They report that the TVA "spends only 5 percent of its revenues on maintenance." And, they say that as a consequence, ability to produce power suffers. Privately owned dams produce 20 percent more electricity than federally owned dams. They also report that TVA charges more to its preferred customers (publicly owned utilities and cooperatives) than private utilities charge to the same class of customers. Also, they note when the public purchases bond issues from the TVA, they do not have an eye on the viability of the project but are, rather, basing their investment decision on the fact that repayment is guaranteed via taxation. (CBO, Should the Federal Government Sell Electricity)

    The Supreme Court ruled the TVA constitutional in Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288 (1936). The Court noted that regulating commerce among the states includes regulation of streams, and that controlling floods is required for keeping streams navigable. The war powers also authorized the project. The argument before the Court was that electricity generation was a by-product of navigation and flood control and therefore could be considered constitutional.

    [edit] 1930s

    Norris Dam was the first TVA constructed dam, completed 1936.Even by Depression standards, the Tennessee Valley was in sad shape in 1933. Thirty percent of the population were affected by malaria, and the income was only $639 per year. Much of the land had been farmed too hard for too long, eroding and depleting the soil. Crop yields had fallen along with farm incomes. The best timber had been cut, with another 10% of forests being burnt each year.

    The TVA was designed to modernize the region, using experts and electricity to combat human and economic problems.[2] TVA developed fertilizers, taught farmers ways to improve crop yields and helped replant forests, control forest fires, and improve habitat for fish and wildlife. The most dramatic change in Valley life came from TVA-generated electricity. Electric lights and modern appliances made life easier and farms more productive. Electricity also drew industries into the region, providing desperately needed jobs.

    None of this was easy. The development of the dams displaced more than 15,000 families. Naturally, this caused resentment and anti-TVA sentiment in some rural communities. Many local landowners were suspicious of government agencies. But the TVA successfully introduced new agricultural methods into traditional farming communities by blending in and finding local champions.

    A Tennessee farmer would not take advice from an official in a suit and tie, so TVA officials had to find leaders in the communities and convince them that crop rotation and the judicious application of fertilizers could restore soil fertility. Once they had convinced the leaders, the rest followed.

    Beginning with its inception, the TVA was based in Knoxville, Tennessee in the old Federal Customs House at the corner of Clinch Avenue and Market Street. The building is now a museum. [1]

    [edit] Employment policy

    The TVA hired 200,000 local workers who were given primarily manual labor jobs in the construction of the dams. The unemployed were hired for conservation, economic development, and social programs such as a library service that operated for the surrounding area. The professional staff headquarters was composed of experts from outside the region. The workers were categorized into the usual racial and gender lines of the day. The TVA hired a few African-Americans for janitorial positions. The TVA recognized labor unions; its skilled and semi-skilled blue collar employees were unionized, a breakthrough in an area known for corporations hostile to miners' unions and textile unions. Women were excluded from construction work, although the TVA's cheap electricity attracted textile mills that hired mostly women. [Long 1999]

    [edit] 1940s

    The Douglas Dam early in its construction in 1942.During World War II, the United States needed aluminum to build airplanes, and aluminum plants required huge amounts of electricity. To provide the power, the TVA engaged in one of the largest hydropower construction programs ever undertaken in the United States. Early in 1942, when the effort reached its peak, 12 hydroelectric projects and a steam plant were under construction at the same time, and design and construction employment reached a total of 28,000. The largest project of this period was the Fontana Dam Project in North Carolina. After negotiations led by Harry Truman ("I want aluminum. I don't care if I get it from Alcoa or Al Capone."), TVA purchased the land from Nantahala Power and Light, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alcoa, and built Fontana Dam. Electricity from Fontana was intended for Alcoa factories. By the time the dam generated power in early 1945, the electricity was used for another purpose in addition to aluminum manufacturing. TVA also provided much of the electricity needed for uranium separation using Calutrons at the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, as required for the Manhattan Project.

    [edit] 1950s

    By the end of the war, TVA had completed a 650-mile (1,050-kilometer) navigation channel the length of the Tennessee River and had become the nation's largest electricity supplier. Even so, the demand for electricity was outstripping TVA's capacity to produce power from hydroelectric dams.

    [edit] 1960s

    The 1960s were years of unprecedented economic growth in the Tennessee Valley. Electric rates were among the nation's lowest and stayed low as TVA brought larger, more efficient generating units into service. Expecting the Valley's electric power needs to continue to grow, TVA began building nuclear reactors as a new source of cheap power. During this decade (and the 1970s), TVA was engaged in what was up to that time its most controversial project - the Tellico Dam Project. The project was initially conceived in the 1940s but not completed until 1979.

    [edit] 1970s and 1980s

    Significant changes occurred in the economy of the Tennessee Valley and the nation, prompted by an international oil embargo in 1973 and accelerating fuel costs later in the decade. The average cost of electricity in the Tennessee Valley increased fivefold from the early 1970s to the early 1980s. With energy demand dropping and construction costs rising, TVA canceled several nuclear plants, as did other utilities around the nation.

    Marvin T. Runyon became chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority in January 1988. He claimed to reduce management layers, cut overhead costs by more than 30%, achieve cumulative savings and efficiency improvements of $1.8 billion. He said he revitalized the nuclear program, and instituted a rate freeze that continued for ten years.

    The 1970s saw the last and most controversial of the TVA's large dam-reservoir projects, Tellico Dam.

    [edit] 1990s

    As the electric-utility industry moved toward restructuring and deregulation, TVA began preparing for competition. It cut operating costs by nearly $800 million a year, reduced its workforce by more than half, increased the generating capacity of its plants, stopped building nuclear plants, and developed a plan to meet the energy needs of the Tennessee Valley through to the year 2020.

    [edit] 2000s

    May 2005 map of TVA sites; Key: red: dam purple: nuclear orange: fossilTVA has recently made news by again reducing its workforce and by beginning new campaigns to improve its public image. It has also received acclaim from pro-nuclear organizations for its work to restart a previously mothballed nuclear reactor at Brown's Ferry (unit 1). In 2005 the TVA announced its intention to construct an Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor at its Bellefonte site in Alabama. (As of 2006, TVA is the owner and operator of the Browns Ferry, Sequoyah and Watts Bar nuclear power plants.) In 2004, TVA implemented recommendations from the Reservoir Operations Study (ROS) in how it operates the Tennessee River system (the nation's fifth largest).

    TVA is one of the largest producers of electricity in the United States and acts as a regional grid reliability coordinator. TVA's power mix as of 2004 was 11 fossil-powered plants, 29 hydroelectric dams, three nuclear power plants (with five reactors and one restarting), and six combustion turbine plants. Fossil fuel plants produced 62% of TVA’s total generation in fiscal year 2005, nuclear power 28%, and hydropower 10%. [2].

    TVA's current headquarters are located in downtown Knoxville. TVA also maintains large administrative offices in Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn.; and Muscle Shoals, Ala.

    [edit] TVA as National Symbol and Political Football

    The (TVA) was heralded by New Dealers and the New Deal Coalition not only as a successful economic development program for a depressed area but also as a democratic nation-building effort overseas because of its alleged grassroots inclusiveness as articulated by director David Lilienthal. The TVA was controversial in the 1930s. Historian Thomas McGraw concludes (1971 p 157) that Roosevelt "rescued the [power] industry from its own abuses" but "he might have done this much with a great deal less agitation and ill will." New Dealers hoped to build numerous other TVAs around the country but were defeated by Wendell Willkie and the Conservative coalition in Congress. The valley authority model did not replace the limited-purpose water programs of the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers. State-centered theorists hold that reformers are most likely to succeed during periods such as the New Deal era, when they are supported by a democratized polity and when they dominate Congress and the administration. However (O'Neill 2002) shows that in river policy the strength of opposing interest groups also mattered. The TVA bill was passed in 1933 because reformers like Norris skillfully coordinated action at potential choke points and weakened the already disorganized opposing electric power industry lobbyists.(Hubbard 1961) In 1936, however, after regrouping, opposing river lobbyists and [Conservative coalition] Congressmen took advantage of the New Dealers' spending mood by expanding the Army Corps' flood control program. They also helped defeat further valley authorities, the most promising of the New Deal water policy reforms.

    When Democrats after 1945 proclaimed the TVA as a model for Third World countries to follow, conservative critics charged it was a top-heavy, centralized, technocratic venture that displaced locals and did so in insensitive ways. Thus, when the program was used as the basis for modernization programs in various parts of the Third World during the Cold War, such as in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, its failure brought a backlash of cynicism toward modernization programs that has persisted. (Ekbladh 2002) When Barry Goldwater attacked the TVA in his 1964 presidential campaign, the backlash among Republicans in Tennessee weakened the party; later conservative candidates avoided the issue.

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