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A Trail Blazer

Frances Perkins—— FDR’s Secretary of Labor and the first woman to serve as a cabinet secretary, was the woman behind the New Deal. Her “bright ideas” included minimum wage, unemployment compensation, abolition of child labor, universal pension, 40 hour work week, federal employment service. The one idea she did not achieve was universal health care. But she was the force behind the Social Security Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (OSHA), and what became know as the New Deal.

Perkins was targeted by forces in the media, in the labor movement, and in Congress because she was what a woman wasn’t supposed to be. After Frances Perkins, America would never be the same.


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