"If we are successful here we can
march on, step by step; in a like development of other great natural
territorial units within our borders."
Message to Congress Suggesting the Tennessee Valley Authority
April 10, 1933
continued idleness of a great national investment in the Tennessee Valley
leads me to ask the Congress for legislation necessary to enlist this
project in the service of the people.
clear that the Muscle Shoals development is but a small part of the
potential public usefulness of the entire Tennessee River. Such use, if
envisioned in its entirety, transcends mere power development; it enters
the wide fields of flood control, soil erosion, afforestation, elimination
from agricultural use of marginal lands, and distribution and
diversification of industry. In short, this power development of war days
leads logically to national planning for a complete river watershed
involving many States and the future lives and welfare of millions. It
touches and gives life to all forms of human concerns.
therefore, suggest to the Congress legislation to create a Tennessee Valley
Authority, a corporation clothed with the power of Government but possessed
of the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise. It should be
charged with the broadest duty of planning for the proper use, conservation
and development of the natural resources of the Tennessee River drainage
basin and its adjoining territory for the general social and economic
welfare of the Nation. This Authority should also be clothed with the
necessary power to carry these plans into effect. Its duty should be the
rehabilitation of the Muscle Shoals development and the coordination of it
with the wider plan.
lessons have taught us the human waste that results from lack of planning.
Here and there a few wise cities and counties have looked ahead and
planned. But our Nation has "just grown." It is time to extend
planning to a wider field, in this instance comprehending in one great
project many States directly concerned with the basin of one of our
This in a
true sense is a return to the spirit and vision of the pioneer. If we are
successful here we can march on, step by step; in a like development of
other great natural territorial units within our borders.
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