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

By Robert P. Ingalls | Go to book overview

agriculture and particularly to milk marketing problems than has Governor Lehman. No other governor has been more constructive in what he is trying to do to help. 145

All the energy and good will of New Dealers produced mixed results during the 1930s. With a deep sense of frustration, Edward R. Eastman declared in 1936: "Damn milk anyway! There never has been any real solution to it, and I am beginning to doubt if there is any."146 Certainly New Deal experiments did not "solve" farm problems in the Empire State. At the insistence of farmers themselves, New York created the milk board to improve returns to dairymen, but government price-fixing in the absence of production controls stimulated increased output, which in turn depressed prices. Throughout this period, organized farmers largely dictated the shape of state agricultural programs, often to the detriment of the public at large, which had to pay the cost of higher returns to producers. The New York Times lamented in 1941: "As in many other examples of Government 'economic planning,' more attention has been paid in the milk control program to the interests of special groups. . . than to the general public welfare as represented by the interests of consumers as a whole."147

Despite significant shortcomings, the farm policies of the Little New Deal expanded the role of government in the Empire State. As a result of the Depression, New Yorkers accepted a series of measures designed to guarantee farmers a minimum standard of living. Although state and federal intervention failed to achieve the goal of parity with pre-World War I purchasing power, it helped bring some improvement in prices and showed, above all, the willingness of New Dealers to put government at the service of economically distressed groups.


NOTES
1.
New York State, Report of the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate the Milk Industry, Leg. Doc. No. 144 ( 1933), p. 61. (Hereinafter referred to as Report on the Milk Industry.)
2.
Ibid., pp. 64, 67.
3.
David M. Ellis et al., A History of New York State ( Ithaca, N.Y., 1967), p. 485; Paul W. Gates , "Agricultural Change in New York State, 1850-1890," New York History, L ( April 1969): 115-41; U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930: Agriculture, vol. II, pt. I, pp. 71, 95, 101, 106, vol. IV, pp.40-41, 52.
4.
Eric Brunger, "A Chapter in the Growth of the New York State Dairy Industry, 1850-1900," New York History, XXXVI ( April 1955): 136-45; Ellis, A History of New York State, pp. 273-75.
5.
John J. Dillon, Seven Decades of Milk: A History of New York's Dairy Industry ( New York, 1941), pp. 5-18; Ellis, A History of New York State, pp. 500-2.
6.
Dewey J. Carter, ed., The Fifty Year Battle for a Living Price for Milk: A History of the Dairymen's League ( New York, 1939), pp. 3-14; Report on the Milk Industry, pp. 102-62. During the 1930s, a few of Lehman's opponents, including the Republican nominee for governor in 1936, charged that the state's chief executive, as well as Lehman Brothers, had a financial interest in Borden's and the National Dairy Corporation, a holding company which

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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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