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Democracy at Work

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Democracy at Work by Herminne Tonita -

The Tennessee is one of the great rivers of America. It drains an area of the Eastern United States almost as large as West Germany. The valley of the Tennessee was once a country of tree- covered slopes, but generations of farmers cut down the trees and ploughed the slopes to grow corn, tobacco and cotton. All these crops were planted in the spring and harvested in autumn. In the winter the land lay bare. Its soil was washed away by heavy winter rains. The same rains often caused floods which drove people from their homes.

By 1933 the Tennessee Valley's land was exhausted. It was producing poorer crops every year. The very manes that the farmers gave to the country side showed how hopeless they were.

Roosevelt set up a special alphabet agency to organize help for the Tennessee Valley's million of people. It was called the Tennessee Valley Authority(TVA). The TVA had three main aims- to stop floods, to make electricity and to make the land fertile again.

From 1933 onwards the valley of Tennessee echoed to the roar of heavy machinery. Huge new steel and concrete dams rose up. When heavy rains fell the dams held back the flood water in great man- made lakes. By guiding the same water through turbines, they also made electricity. The TVA sold the electricity cheaply to farmers. It was also used to power new factories making paper, aluminum, chemicals and fertilizers. These factories meant jobs and a better life for the Tennessee Valley's people.

TVA also planted million of trees and persuaded farmers to plant crops like grass and clover. These covered the ground all year round and prevented winter rains from washing away the soil. The fields and hills of the Tennessee Valley became green again as the scars of erosion were healed.

TVA set up voluntary cooperative groups to sell electricity, to organize the marketing of the farmers' produce. They provided valuable experience of democracy at work at the local level- what has been called "democracy at the grass level".

The TVA was a startling demonstration of what democratic methods of government could achieve.
Democracy at Work written by Herminne Tonita for FamousWhy.com
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Tags: democracy, work, river, tennessee river, tobacco, cotton, america, roosvelt



Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 10 June '07


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