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Federal programs—including the Farm Security Administration, the Works Progress Administration, the Federal Arts Program, and the Tennessee Valley Authority—embraced quilts as a political tool to demonstrate the efficacy of these programs, show women how they could contribute to their families’ betterment, and symbolically draw on myths of colonial-era fortitude and self-sufficiency as a means of overcoming poverty. Similarly, quiltmakers during this era used quilts to express their frustrations with the downturn and to feel empowered, despite precarious financial positions.

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