Description

    Franklin Roosevelt Typed Letter Signed "Franklin D. Roosevelt" as president. One page, 7" x 9", February 24, 1936, Hyde Park, New York, on White House letterhead to Florida Senator Duncan U. Fletcher concerning the controversial Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. In full: "I have carefully checked all the figures and it is really impossible to go ahead with the Canal project very much further under the Work Relief Act of 1935. Therefore, Congressional action is really necessary. Do not forget that the amount was included in the Budget."

    The "Canal project" referred to in the letter is the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which stretched through the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas and was intended for barge traffic. Originally proposed in the nineteenth century, the canal was strongly opposed by powerful railroad companies who saw the canal as competition. Work on the canal became important when the Great Depression hit and construction jobs were needed. In August 1935, Florida Senator Duncan Fletcher and other canal boosters asked President Franklin for funding. The president complied and allocated $5 million from the Work Relief Act of 1935 for the canal.

    Opponents of the project, however, turned public opinion against the canal in late 1935, causing President Roosevelt to distance himself from the controversy. He decided not to give more money from the Work Relief Act of 1935 to the project; instead, he asked Congress to fund it. In this letter, the president notifies Fletcher of his decision, which certainly dismayed Senator Fletcher. Fletcher, Florida's longest serving senator, died four months later. After his death, Congress refused to allocate money to the project and work was discontinued. The canal was finally funded, however, and completed in 1949. The letter is in fine condition.


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    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
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