Frances Perkins: “Social Insurance for U.S.” Radio Address


Frances Perkins dramatically changed the role of the Department of Labor during her tenure as secretary of labor under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From her work in the settlement house movement to her pioneering service as the first woman cabinet member, she championed the interests of working Americans through public speeches, legislative action, and deft political negotiations. As chair of the Committee on Economic Security, Perkins had been intimately involved in forming a social insurance bill to secure unemployment relief and care for the elderly. In February 1935,...

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Franklin Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act, with Frances Perkins standing behind him (Library of Congress)

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