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Governorship of John G. Townsend, Jr.


Fenwick island Delaware
Fenwick island Delaware

During the governorship of John G. Townsend, Jr., a Republican who served from 1917 to 1921, public education was greatly improved through large gifts from industrialist Pierre S. du Pont, who built modern schools throughout the state. Pierre’s cousins Thomas Coleman du Pont (known as “T. Coleman”) and Alfred I. du Pont also made substantial donations to the state. T. Coleman du Pont built a modern highway the length of the state between 1911 and 1924, while Alfred promoted the creation of the state’s first welfare home, which was opened in 1933 to replace antiquated county facilities. A state income tax law was passed to help finance the state’s school system.

The industrial boom of World War I


The industrial boom of World War I (1914-1918) spurred the growth of the Wilmington area. By 1920 the state’s urban population exceeded its rural population for the first time. Like the rest of the country, Delaware suffered great economic hardship during the worldwide Great Depression of the 1930s. Many workers were unemployed. However, no large banks failed in Delaware, and the diversification of industry within the state encouraged a fairly rapid economic recovery. During the depression, Delaware’s voters swung toward the Democrats because of their efforts to revitalize the economy. In the 1936 elections the Democrats carried the state for the president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and also for the offices of governor, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, and many other positions.

During World War II (1939-1945), Delaware produced ships, airplanes, motor vehicles, iron and steel, chemicals, foodstuffs, and other goods for the Allied war effort. Agriculture and industry in the state prospered. "Delaware" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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