The Tennessee Valley Authority in Cartoons
November 1934: Public or Private Power?
In November, 1934 President Roosevelt toured the Tennessee Valley Authority. He visited the new publicly-owned electric cooperative in Corinth, Mississippi and, at a November 23 press conference at Warm Springs, delivered some well-publicized remarks devoted to TVA and the question of electric power.
Although FDR did not call for government ownership of the utilities, he thought TVA would be an effective "yardstick" to measure the rates private utility companies charged to their customers, and believed that TVA experiment could be repeated throughout the nation. The possibility of cheap, locally-controlled electric power excited many consumers, who were angry over the financial practices of utility company executives like Samuel Insull.
In January 1936 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the New Deal's Agricultural Adjustment Act and the National Recovery Act were unconstitutional. A month later the Court considered the constitutionality of the Tennessee Valley Authority and--to the surprise of many--declared TVA constitutional.
In March 1938 the disagreements existing between Arthur Morgan and the other two members of the board, Harcourt Morgan and David Lilienthal, became public when Arthur Morgan accused the others of unethical behavior. Roosevelt dismissed Morgan, angered by his public accusations, which supplied ammunition to the opponents of the New Deal. A Joint Committee of Congress investigated Morgan's charges and, although they questioned some of the agency's practices, cleared TVA of any wrong doing.
March 1938: And Another Thing...
During the controversy involving TVA's Board of Directors, cartoonists depicted other problems with TVA.