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

By Robert P. Ingalls | Go to book overview

spend relief monies at a faster rate, but this tightfistedness guaranteed that the state would not exhaust the funds before it arranged for additional appropriations. 73 Lehman also assured bipartisan support for public assistance by appointing many Republicans to TERA and consulting G.O.P. legislative leaders before embarking on any new relief policy. 74

New Yorkers on relief fared better than other needy Americans primarily because of the infusion of both state and federal aid. The Empire State began supplementing local relief in 1931, but hard-pressed communities soon found they needed more than a 40 percent contribution from Albany. Thanks to the addition of federal funds in 1933, TERA managed to pay two-thirds of all local relief costs by the end of the year and, the following spring, it started footing three-quarters of the total bill.

In spite of the unprecedented extension of state and federal funds, New Dealers in Albany and Washington conceived of this step as a temporary expedient to meet an emergency situation. Overwhelmed by the immediacy of the unemployment crisis, officials continued through 1934 to devise relief programs on virtually a month-to-month basis, since they scarcely had time to think about the future, let alone plan for it. The reliance on loans to finance unemployment relief indicated the stopgap nature of assistance. During Lehman's first term as governor, many New Yorkers still expected a business revival, which would end the need for state and federal subsidies. Yet despite the temporary character of aid for the jobless, Albany and Washington had accepted responsibility for the welfare of indigent citizens for the first time in history. The next few years would determine whether New York would return to the primitive "poor relief" system of pre-Depression days.


NOTES
1.
"Statement for the TERA re: Necessity for Federal Funds," January 10, 1933, folder "Hopkins, Harry," Microfilm Reel 45, Governorship Papers (hereinafter referred to as GP), HHLP; David M. Ellis et al., A History of New York State ( Ithaca, N.Y., 1967), p. 416.
2.
Quoted in Harry Manuel Shulman, Slums of New York ( New. York, 1938), pp. 120-21.
3.
Buffalo Courier-Express, April 7, 1933.
4.
Emergency Unemployment Relief Committee statement, New York Times, December 19, 1932.
5.
Report of the Women's Director of the Emergency Work Relief Bureau, New York Evening Post December 19, 1932.
6.
New York Times, December 2, 1932.
7.
Buffalo Evening News, January 3, 1933.
8.
Buffalo Courier-Express, December 7, 1932.
9.
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, December 30, 1932.
10.
William P. Capes to HHL, December 29, 1932, "Conference of Mayors, 1932-33," Reel 20, GP, HHLP; Hopkins to HHL, December 21, 1932, Special File, HHLP; U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Manufactures, Hearings before a Subcommittee of the

-42-

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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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