ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES
Hard Times in Illinois, 1930–1940
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives
LETTER FROM THE U.S. RECONSTRUCTION FINANCE CORPORATION CONCERNING FEDERAL DOLLARS REQUESTED
October 27, 1932
From the final two months of 1929 to mid-summer 1932 private charities and state and local governmental agencies struggled to provide immediate relief for the unemployed and otherwise destitute. The federal government had resisted cries for assistance, believing that local efforts were the only ones appropriate. But by the summer of 1932 state and local resources largely had been expended and the crisis demanded the intervention of the national government.
The Emergency Relief and Construction Act was passed by Congress and became law on July 21, 1932. Under that legislation's terms the states could apply to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for loans bearing an interest rate of three percent. The loaned federal money was to be used for relief purposes. When Governor Emmerson first made his application he asked for $23,000,000. Although his request quickly was approved on July 27 the corporation's directors initially granted only $3,000,000. Emmerson was advised to go back to his legislature and there request increased taxes and other revenue sources in order to fully finance his state's relief requirements.
Points to Consider
Why had Fred C. Croxton written Governor Emmerson?
What was the Reconstruction Finance Corporation?
What was the $6,303,150 going to be used for?
Should the federal government have responsibility for relief for the unemployed?