From Slave South to New South: Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia

By Peter Wallenstein | Go to book overview
Save to active project

6
WHAT DISPOSITION SHALL BE MADE OF THE MONEY?

AFTER FOCUSING on economic growth in the early nineteenth century, the states increasingly turned their attention to social spending. In this area, too, the experience of the Empire State of the South resembled that of the Empire State of the North. In 1836 and 1837, New York and Georgia made initial appropriations to establish state insane asylums; in 1842 and 1843, both institutions opened. New York took a major step toward securing tuition-free elementary schooling when it levied a state property tax to raise $800,000 for common schools in 1851.1 Relying on profits from the Western and Atlantic Railroad, Georgia quintupled its spending on elementary schools from $30,000 in 1859 to $150,000 the following year.

In the late 1850s, Georgia came within reach of its longtime financial utopia. In 1854 the Western and Atlantic began to contribute to the state treasury; by 1860 the railroad's profits led to a doubling of state revenue with no increase in taxes. At the same time, rising per capita wealth permitted cuts in tax rates without reductions in tax revenue. As in the 1810s and the 1830s, the surplus income allowed Georgians to choose between further tax cuts or increased spending.

The 1855-56 general assembly was the first to face the flow of new revenues. Legislators at that and subsequent sessions had to decide, as Governor Joseph E. Brown put the question in 1858, "What disposition shall be made of the money?"2 Rather than cut tax revenue, Georgians chose to spend more, and they began to divert their investments from transportation to social welfare. By the late 1850s, as in the 1830s, the state cut its tax rates and yet expanded its support of education and welfare institutions, as nontax revenue facilitated a much more active state government.

Until the advent of railroad revenue in the 1855-56 session, legislative behavior patterns on spending issues in the 1850s echoed those on taxes in the previous decade. Representatives from black-belt and urban counties had tended to seek greater tax revenue in the 1840s. In the following decade they resisted efforts to reduce tax revenue and, often despite opposition by North Georgia legislators, managed to increase state spending. But as nontax reve-

-61-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
From Slave South to New South: Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 284

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?