National Recovery Administration

National Recovery Administration (NRA), in U.S. history, administrative bureau established under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. In response to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's congressional message of May 17, 1933, Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act, an emergency measure designed to encourage industrial recovery and help combat widespread unemployment. The act called for industrial self-regulation and declared that codes of fair competition—for the protection of consumers, competitors, and employers—were to be drafted for the various industries of the country and were to be subject to public hearings. The administration was empowered to make voluntary agreements dealing with hours of work, rates of pay, and the fixing of prices. Employees were given the right to organize and bargain collectively and could not be required, as a condition of employment, to join or refrain from joining a labor organization. The NRA—by a separate executive order—was put into operation soon after the final approval of the act. President Roosevelt appointed (June, 1933) Hugh S. Johnson as administrator for industrial recovery. Until Mar., 1934, the NRA was engaged chiefly in the drawing up of industrial codes; a blanket code for all industries was adopted, and well over 500 codes of fair practice were adopted for the various industries. Patriotic appeals were made to the public, and firms were asked to display the Blue Eagle, an emblem signifying NRA participation. Attacked in certain quarters as authoritarian, the NRA did not last long enough to fully implement its policies. In May, 1935, in the case of the Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the compulsory-code system on the grounds that the NRA improperly delegated legislative powers to the executive and that the provisions of the poultry code did not constitute a regulation of interstate commerce. The NRA was extended in skeletonized form until Jan. 1, 1936. Many labor provisions of the NRA were reenacted in later legislation (see Fair Labor Standards Act and National Labor Relations Board).

See L. S. Lyon et al., The National Recovery Administration (1933, repr. 1972); C. L. Dearing et al., The ABC of the NRA (1934); C. A. Pearce, NRA Trade Practice Programs (1939).

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