generally foreclosed the possibility of additional reforms, Lehman's hold on the executive
branch precluded any attempt to dismantle the Welfare State. This political standoff
gave the Little New Deal time to win greater acceptance as a part of the state's new status
For Lehman the prospect of war overshadowed domestic events after 1939. His own
subsequent evaluation of the period confirms this:
I've always thought that my fourth term, while it did not result in much progressive
legislation, was nonetheless a very important period, largely . . . because it became
evident to many of us that war was inevitable in Europe, and that in all probability
we would be drawn into the conflict, so that it was very necessary to make
preparations for that situation, educate people, arouse public opinion, and to take
steps to fortify the state, in civil defense, and also to a very considerable extent in
In part because of the war, Lehman announced in May 1942 that he would not run for
governor again. Eager to do something connected with the war, he resigned from office
on December 2, 1942, leaving Albany a month early in order to take over immediately as
director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations.
83 After ten years of helping
New Yorkers recover from the Depression, Herbert Lehman went to the aid of people
ravaged by the scourge of war.
See supra, chap. 1. pp. 14, 17.
Folks to HHL, December 19, 1938, "Folks, Homer", Gen. Corr., 1933-40, HHLP.
George A. Hall to Mrs. Leonard Jones, November 22, 1937, Box 11, Group II, New York
Child Labor Committee Papers, New York State Library; see supra, chap. V, p. 120.
NYSFL Bulletin, December 28, 1939.
"Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting of the New York Permanent Conference
on Social Security," April 22, 1941, Box 41, Epstein Papers ( Columbia).
HHL Address, October 27, 1938, Public Papers, 1938, p. 577.
HHL Message to the Legislature, January 4, 1939, Public Papers, 1939, p. 22. See also HHL
Address, February 11, 1941, Public Papers, 1941, pp. 619-21.
New York Herald Tribune, February 23, 1941, Albany Knickerbocker News, April 4, 1941, New York Times, April 5, 1941 ( CB, 90: 10897; 91: 11119, 11126, HHLP).
This sum included the original proposal for $411.7 million in appropriations plus $3.3
million subsequently recommended in the supplemental budget. HHL Message to the
Legislature, March 1, 1939, Public Papers, 1939, pp. 101-3.
HHL Message to the Legislature, January 30, 1939, Public Papers, 1939, p. 55.
New York Times, February 13, 1940 ( CB, 83: 8326).
HHL Memoir, COHC, p. 370. In New York State, retailers naturally opposed the sales tax
while real estate interests favored it as a means of relieving the burden of property taxes. In 1934, Republicans fought unsuccessfully to continue the sales tax and increase it from 1 to 2
percent. Percy C. Magnus to HHL, February 16, 1933, "Magnus, Percy C.," Reel 58, GP,