The year was 1932, and America was in the midst of the worst economic downturn in history. Unemployment stood at 25 percent; homelessness at two million people. When Americans went to the polls, they overwhelmingly elected Franklin D. Roosevelt president. FDR immediately sought 'relief, recovery, and reform' to rebuild America's tattered economy. FDR was not interested in merely handing out money to people. Instead, he wanted to put them to work.