Toward a New Deal in Baltimore: People and Government in the Great Depression

By Jo Ann E. Argersinger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3 Policies and Programs
The New Deal in the City

As the New Deal unfolded in 1933, with the passage of the Federal Emergency Relief Act and the National Industrial Recovery Act, city officials immediately studied the legislation to determine what Mayor Howard Jackson termed "the opportunities offered Baltimore." GovernorAlbert Ritchie agreed that Maryland should get its "fair share" of federal assistance, frankly adding, "we ought to get all we can get."1 But their flash of enthusiasm vanished before the sobering realities reported by Harry Hopkins as head of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration: he informed them that federal money would generally be available only on a matching basis, that federal funds alone would not meet public needs, and that the states must continue to meet their relief responsibilities. Financing unemployment relief, however, appealed to neither Jackson nor Ritchie, and neither moved rapidly toward satisfying federal demands in exchange for federal money. All too often, the federal government had to coerce the city and the state into providing assistance for their needy. 2

The National Industrial Recovery Act, designed to bring employers under codes regulating hours, wages, and working conditions, alarmed local and state leaders, for it signaled a new level of government-business cooperation. Maryland's senators voted against the bill and Mayor Jackson publicly questioned the growing powers of government. The Baltimore Sun, although generally solicitous of business interests, sharply denounced

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