Usa Georgia - Encyclopedia




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"'U.S.A. GEORGIA' I 1.751 *). - The pop. of Georgia in 1920 was 2,895,832 as against 2,609,121 in 1910, an increase of 11 %. For the preceding decade the rate of increase was 1 7.7 %. During 1910-20 negroes increased from 1,431,802 to 1,689,114, but relatively they decreased from 45I % of the total pop. to 41-7%. The urban pop. was 25I % as compared with 20.6% in 1 9 10. The density of pop. in 1920 was 49.3 per sq. m., as against 44.4 in 1910. The census of 1920 revealed an important movement of population from the mountain counties of the northern portion of the state and from central Georgia to south-central and south-eastern Georgia. This shifting of population was due to the presence of large areas of undeveloped and fertile land in the southern half of the state. The highest density of population, however, was still to be found in the northern half.

Atlanta .

Augusta

Columbus

Macon .

Savannah

200,616

52,548

31,125

52,995

83,252

154,839

41 ,040

20 ,554

40 66 5

65,064

29.6

28.0

51.4

30.3

28o

The following are the cities of over 25,000 inhabitants with their pop. in 1920 and 1910 and rate of increase in the decade: Percentage Increase Agriculture. - The coming of the boll weevil and the outbreak of the World War coincided. Although scarcely perceptible in 1914, by 1916 the boll weevil had spread over the coastal plain of Georgia, and in the following years covered the entire state. The growing of long-staple cotton was abandoned and the production of the short staple was sharply curtailed, falling from 2,718,037 bales in 1914, the largest crop in the history of the state, to an average of 30% less in the four years following. This situation gave a powerful impetus to diversified farming, the movement being aided by the high prices of food-stuffs due to the World War. The production of corn jumped from 39,000,000 bus. in 1910 to 69,000,000 in 1920; Irish potatoes from 886,000 bus. to 1,628,000; sweet potatoes from 7,426,000 bus. to 13,000,000; peanuts from 2,559,E bus. to 7,616,- 000; tobacco from 1,485,000 lb. to 16,000,000. Hogs increased in number from 1,945,000 in 1910 to 3,040,000 in 1919, and a number of packing plants were established. Agricultural lands advanced in price about 'coo %, and agricultural wages about 80%. The depression of 1920 had a very serious effect. The sudden and drastic deflation in the prices of agricultural products caused a practical moratorium of debts and led to many failures.

Table of contents

Education

In 1910 the total enrolment in the public schools was 555,794; in 1920, 723,077; the state appropriation for elementary schools in 1910 was $2,237,000; in 1920, $4,000,000; there was raised by local taxation in 1910, $1,307,000; in 1920, $5,693,205. The total amount spent for educational purposes in 1910 was $5,400,000; in 1920, $15,540,781. This last sum included all funds from all sources. Important legislation was put upon the statute books during the period 1910-20 looking toward the modernizing of the educational system. A constitutional clause limiting the taxing power of the counties to taxation for elementary schools only was removed (1910), thus legalizing county taxation for high schools. The State Board of Education, which had been composed of statehouse officials, was made into a professional board (1911), and a uniform text-book law passed, the duty of choosing the books being placed upon the board. Compulsory education dates from 1916. The law, as amended by the new School Code of 1919, was a good one, requiring attendance through the seventh grade and allowing no exemptions except of a temporary character. Provision was made for attendance officers. A training school for negro teachers was authorized in 1917. Long strides forward resulted from the Federal Smith-Lever Act of 1914, accepted by Georgia the same year, providing for extension work in agriculture and home economics, and the Federal Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, accepted the same year, for the teaching of vocational subjects in the schools. In 1919 the policy was adopted of setting apart one-half of the total income of the state for the schools. In the same year a constitutional amendment was adopted, by which the counties were required to levy local taxation of not less than one mill nor more than five mills for the support of elementary schools as a supplement to the state appropriation. An additional five mills may be voted in districts having independent school systems. To encourage the consolidation of small schools, the Legislature appropriated $100,000 from which the state offered to pay a bonus of $50o to any county which combined small schools into larger ones; and where a four-year high school was provided an additional bonus of $1,000 was authorized. An illiteracy commission was established (1919) to make a study of adult illiteracy, and in 1920 local taxation for the support of schools for adult illiterates was authorized. Noteworthy progress was being made in the eradication of illiteracy. White illiteracy declined from 7.8 to 5.4%; negro from 36.5% to 29.1%. Physical education was required (1920) in all schools supported by the state. During the 15 years after 1905 the number of four-year high schools increased from seven to 204. The progress of the elementary and high schools was far more noteworthy than that of the higher educational institutions. The latter enjoyed large increases in attendance, but very small additions to their equipment and appropriations for maintenance. The total state appropriations for higher institutions, including the academies for the deaf and blind, were, in 1910, $43 6 ,5 00; in 1920, $991,671.

Government

The decade 1910-20 in Georgia was characterized by noteworthy legislation designed to further social progress and economic improvement. A training school for girls was established (1913), a similar school for boys having already been in operation for several years. The standard of medical education was materially raised (1913); only four-year medical colleges were recognized and the requirements for entrance were increased. A new Board of Health was established (1914) to exercise control over the county boards of health. Provision was made for paid sanitary commissioners in all sanitary districts which consist of one or more counties.

A Vital Statistics law of 1914 provided for the registration of births and deaths and for the publication of statistics. Juvenile courts were established in 72 towns and cities as the result of legislation in 1915 and later. The employment of children under 14 years of age was prohibited (1914), and factory inspectors were provided in 1916. A Training School for Mental Defectives was established (1919); a Community Service Commission (1919) exercises supervision over similar county and city bodies; and a State Board of Public Welfare (1919) was set up, charged primarily with the duty of inspecting all institutions maintained by the state for the dependent, defective, delinquent, and criminal classes. An Act of 1920 provided for rehabilitation of persons disabled in industry or otherwise. This measure included assent to the Federal Vocational Act and pledged the state to equal appropriations made by the United States. A State Board of Vocational Education, created by an Act of 1917, was charged with the administration of the rehabilitation training.

In the field of economics and industry a Department of Commerce and Labor was created (1911) in which was later (1917) included a free employment bureau. The Department of Insurance dates from 1912. The State Highway Department (1916) was reconstituted in 1919 in order to bring the state system into harmony with national legislation providing aid in the construction of rural post roads. The Georgia law contemplates a state-wide system of paved highways, with a total of 4,800 m., to connect all county seats. Funds arising from the issue of motor licences (amounting in 1920 to $1,900,000) were set aside for this purpose. A Bureau of Markets (1917) was created to gather and disseminate information of value to producers and consumers of agricultural products. To further the erection of modern warehouses for the weighing, grading and storage of lint cotton, a Warehouse Commission was authorized in 1918. A new banking code, modelled on the National Bank Act, corrected many defects in the old banking system and provided for adequate inspection. An Employers' Liability Act (1920) set aside the common law defences of contributory negligence and negligence of fellowemployees and provided for compensation for industrial accidents, and a commission was created to administer the Act. A Legislative Reference Library was established in 1914, and a State Department of Archives and History in 1918.

Finances

The assessed value of the taxable property of Georgia in 1910 was $766,000,000; in 1920, $1,181,473,000, an increase of 50%. The yield of taxes in 1920 was $10,820,500. The principal source of revenue was the discredited general property tax. It was estimated that about 75% of the taxable property of Georgia escaped taxation. In 1913 a Tax Equalization Act was passed with the purpose of removing inequalities as between counties and as between individuals. A Tax Commission was created the same year. Improvement resulted, but the root of the evil was not touched. An able Special Tax Commission was appointed in 1918. It recommended the classification of property for taxation purposes, but the Legislature had failed to act on the report up to the summer of 1921. The bonded indebtedness of Georgia was reduced from $6,944,000 in 1910 to $5,818,000 in 1920. The estimated value of the Western & Atlantic Railway, state-owned, was $20,000,000, or three and one-half times as much as the bonded debt.

History

In politics Georgia continued throughout the period 1910-20 solidly Democratic both in state and national affairs. The most interesting political contests were those growing out of World War issues. U.S. Senator Hardwick stood for reelection in 1918. He had not supported the administration in a way acceptable to President Wilson. The President threw his support to Hardwick's opponent, William J. Harris, who was elected. By the time of the elections of 1920 a considerable reaction in sentiment had occurred. Hardwick entered the race for governor and defeated two administration candidates. Thomas E. Watson, a former Populist leader and an uncompromising opponent of President Wilson and his war policies, was elected U.S. senator over Hoke Smith and Dorsey.

The total number of soldiers furnished by the state during the World War was 86,973. Of these 20,132 voluntarily enlisted; 66,841 were taken into the service through the selective draft.

The amounts subscribed to the Liberty and Victory Loans totalled $179,866,850.00. The names and dates of the governors were: Hoke Smith, 1911-2 (shortly after his inauguration Smith was elected by the Legislature to succeed J. M. Terrell as U.S. senator); Joseph M. Brown, 1912-3 (elected at a special election to fill Smith's unexpired term); John M. Slaton, 1913-5; Nathaniel E. Harris, 1915-7; Hugh M. Dorsey, 1917-21; Thomas W. Hardwick, 1921-. (R. P. B.) 1910 1920

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