Rhode Island and The Great Depression: An Analysis of Reactionary Legislation
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe United States government instituted ground-breaking programs in the wake of the Great Depression, some of which were mainly left to the states to implement. This autonomy led to large differences in the implementation and later recovery of these states. There currently exists a dearth of state level analysis of this period, which this paper aims to remedy. Through the investigation of Rhode Islands’ actions in the 1930’s in regards to recovery and federal programs, this paper establishes that individual state characteristics and actions have great impact on the states recovery. In Rhode Island, an unstable political climate led to inconsistent techniques in raising revenue and decreasing unemployment. Depending on the majority political party, either taxes were increased and federal funds were sought after or state independence and smaller government were pursued. In either case progress was slowed by constant argument in the state legislature. It is also shown, in a statistical analysis of the state, that public works loans and percent of foreign born state population had statistically significant negative effects on per capita state tax revenue, an important source of revenue for the state.
Degree ProgramHonors College