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12 Hamline L. Rev. 649 (1988-1989)
The Agricultural Employee Exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

handle is hein.journals/hamlrv12 and id is 661 raw text is: THE AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYEE EXEMPTION FROM
THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT OF 1938
Patrick M. Anderson*
The United States was reeling from the effects of the Great De-
pression in the early 1930's. This economic collapse, which cast mil-
lions of Americans out of work, was perceived by many to be the result
of the disparity in income distribution between the industrialists and
workers (i.e. consumers). The prevailing view was that a healthy econ-
omy could not be achieved unless American workers acquired the
purchasing power to enjoy the over-abundant products of American in-
dustry. This perceived need opened the door for government interven-
tion in the national economy to achieve not only economic recovery, but
industrial reform as well. Under the charismatic leadership of Presi-
dent Roosevelt and his New Deal, emergency programs to get the
nation's economy back on its feet were accompanied by programs to
improve the lot of American workers, many of whom labored in
sweatshop conditions. Although the National Industrial Recovery
Act extended the right of collective bargaining as a mechanism for
union-represented workers to achieve better working conditions and
higher pay, there remained a great mass of unrepresented workers who
could not hope for an improvement in conditions absent direct govern-
ment intervention.
Thus, the shocked sensibility of the nation following the onset of
the depression, coupled with a zeal for reform under Roosevelt's New
Deal, set the stage for the message which the President sent to Con-
gress on May 24, 1934:
The time has arrived for us to take further action to extend the fron-
tiers of social progress. Such further action initiated by the legisla-
tive branch of the Government, administered by the Executive, and
sustained by the judicial, is within the common-sense framework and.
purpose of our Constitution and receives beyond a doubt the ap-
proval of our electorate. The overwhelming majority of our popula-
* B.S. Political Science 1979, B.S. Agricultural Economics 1981, University of Wyoming;
J.D. 1989, University of Wyoming College of Law. Associate, Benoit, Alexander, Sinclair, Doerr,
Harwood & High, Idaho, currently practicing in the areas of criminal prosecution, civil litigation
and water and environmental law.

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