Part A-Plan of the Investigation
To what extent is Frances Perkins responsible for and involved in the economic and social policies during The Great Depression? Frances Perkins role in government through pre and post great depression is not as widely recognized as some her fellow cabinet members who also pushed the New Deal. The details of who was the driving force behind the New Deal have been skewed over the years. How did Frances Perkins influence the economic and social policies of the Great Depression? Do people only remember Perkins for being the first female cabinet member under Franklin D. Roosevelt or was she actually a visionary of her time. During the time of the New Deal and new government, involvement in economy and the welfare of its people was she a leader or just along for the ride.
Part B-Summary of Evidence
Frances Perkins attended the male high school of Worcester, went on in nineteen hundred-two to receive her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College, and a Masters at Columbia where she studied sociology and economics (Severn 11). After finishing her education, Perkins moves to the state of New York to work for the government as a factory inspector (Mohr 32). In Albany she began to lobby for a bill that would limit a woman's workweek to fifty-four hours. Though met with great opposition, this cry for action got her noticed by Al Smith and Robert F. Wagner who she would work with closely later down the road (Severn 40). In defeat, she went to Manhattan and was an eyewitness to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire on March 25, 1911. This inspired her to forerun on fire and working conditions regulations in New York, and was the “torch that lightened up the political scene,” in her favor. Having previous investigator experience and lobbyist, the New York Committee of Safety came to her through her job at the Consumers’ League asked her for help in investigating the fire, and soon offered her a job. Her dedication is noted, and she is promoted to the executive secretary of the New York Committee on Safety (Martin 104). There she, Alfred Smith, the governor of New York, and several others work together to create thirty new legislative pieces on fire safety and the working conditions of the state. Through the publicity of the fire, they were able to get the fifty-four hour bill passed and much more (Severn 50).
While working in New York, she meets Paul C. Wilson who whom she marries in nineteen-thirteen She took a step back from her work and spent it with her husband, but when his behavior becomes erratic he diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Frances has to take up the job of breadwinner for her family as her husband is incapacitated to work. Her relationships with her family may have suffered from the long work hours, but her dedication to her work soared (Downy 93).
In 1924, Al Smith, who was a serious contender for the Democratic nomination, and brought Perkins along to help in his campaign. In campaigning,...