Frances Perkins


“I promise to use what brains I have to meet problems with intelligence and courage.” – Frances Perkins

Main architect behind the New Deal, Frances Perkins was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet, serving under Franklin D. Roosevelt as U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945. When asked to serve, she outlined her policies to Roosevelt: a national 40-hr work week, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation, a minimum wage, Social Security, universal health care, ending child labor, and federal employment services. His agreement to these priorities was a condition of her acceptance to serving in his cabinet. Witnessing her tenacity and expertise firsthand when he was governor of New York (and she the state’s Industrial Commissioner), he agreed. What followed: she got. shit. done. The Social Security Act of 1935, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, she was able to accomplish EVERYTHING on her list minus one: universal health care (who knew health care could be so complicated?)


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