Herbert H. Lehman and New York's Little New Deal

By Robert P. Ingalls | Go to book overview

position that health insurance should be a national program integrated into the federal social security system. 134

During the 1930s, the enactment of various welfare programs guaranteed that New Yorkers would receive government protection against the perils of unemployment, old age, and some disabilities. The state's commitment to provide insurance and public assistance grew out of the Depression, which reformers, lawmakers, and judges repeatedly cited as proof that neither individuals nor private agencies could deal adequately with economic dependency in an industrial society. Although local communities had furnished some aid to the indigent before the 1930s, relief had been given sparingly as a matter of charity. Under the New Deal, Albany and Washington not only greatly improved existing public assistance programs, but also instituted novel social insurance schemes. During 1936, Lehman noted the new role of government:

There have been important changes in the public view of the standards of care due to dependent groups, and at the same time an appreciation that the State's responsibility for the welfare of human beings does not end with the institutional care of unfortunates.

The purpose of government is not only to protect the lives and property of its people . . . , but also to bring increased happiness, contentment and security into the homes of its people. 135

In pursuit of security, New Yorkers embraced the primary goal of the Welfare State--a government-guaranteed minimum standard of living as a matter of right.


NOTES
1.
Ward James quoted in Studs Terkel, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression ( New York, 1970), p. 423.
2.
According to Roy Lubove, "Workmen's compensation was the earliest social insurance program in the United States and the only one in operation before the 1930's." In 1913, New York State had established its system of workmen's compensation which required mandatory benefits for Job-related injuries or accidents. Under the Little New Deal, the state extended the law to cover occupational diseases. Roy Lubove, The Struggle for Social Security, 1900-1935 ( Cambridge, Mass., 1968), p. 45; Laws of New York, 1935, chap. 254; Laws of New York, 1936, chap. 887.
3.
Lubove, The Struggle for Social Security, pp. 144-70; Harry Malisoff, "The Emergence of Unemployment Compensation: I," Political Science Quarterly, LIV ( June 1939): 242-44.
4.
Andrews to Jeffrey R. Brackett, December 6, 1921, quoted in Lubove, The Struggle for Social Security, pp. 113-14.
5.
American Labor Legislation Review, XX ( December 1930): 349. The terms unemployment compensation, unemployment insurance, and unemployment reserves are hereinafter used interchangeably as they usually were during the 1930s despite Andrews' attempts to distinguish reserves from insurance.

-94-

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Herbert H. Lehman and New York's Little New Deal
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Illustrations xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Notes xix
  • I- from Wall Street to State Street 1
  • Notes 24
  • II- Emergency Unemployment Relief 31
  • Notes 42
  • III- From Emergency Relief to the Welfare State 48
  • Notes 66
  • IV- The Search for Security 71
  • Notes 94
  • V- Defending the Defenseless 102
  • Notes 123
  • VI- Lending Labor a Hand 131
  • VII- The Promise of Parity 148
  • Notes 172
  • VIII- The Advent of Public Housing 182
  • IX- Battling the Utilities 210
  • Notes 226
  • X- The End of an Era 231
  • Notes 244
  • Notes 255
  • Bibliography 257
  • Index 275
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