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"Finance Report of the Town of Deerfield. 1860-61."
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Town of Deerfield, Massachusetts, drew up its fiscal expenses for 1861 and much of it would be recognizable to anyone familiar with town expenses today: roads and schools and other miscellaneous items. But unfamiliar to us is the itemized support for "paupers" and other poor people. This was standard town business prior to the Great Depression of 1929-1940 which utterly overwhelmed this kind of town support for poor people. During Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal the federal government began furnishing money for the support of the most destitute, money that was administered through state programs. Later, in the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs distributed more money through directly supervised federal programs.
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