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To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government

by

To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Americans love to hate their government, and a long tradition of anti-government suspicion reaches back to debates among the founders of the nation. But the election of Barack Obama has created a backlash rivaled only by the anti-government hysteria that preceded the Civil War.

Lost in all the Tea Party rage and rhetoric is this simple fact: the federal government plays a central role in making our society function, and it always has. Edited by Steven Conn and written by some of America's leading scholars, the essays in To Promote the General Welfare explore the many ways government programs have improved the quality of life in America. The essays cover everything from education, communication, and transportation to arts and culture, housing, finance, and public health. They explore how and why government programs originated, how they have worked and changed--and been challenged--since their inception, and why many of them are important to preserve.

The book shows how the WPA provided vital, in some cases career-saving, assistance to artists and writers like Jackson Pollock, Dorothea Lange, Richard Wright, John Cheever, and scores of others; how millions of students from diverse backgrounds have benefited and continue to benefit from the G.I. Bill, Fulbright scholarships, and federally insured student loans; and how the federal government created an Interstate highway system unparalleled in the world, linking the entire nation. These are just a few examples of highly successful programs the book celebrates--and that anti-government critics typically ignore.

For anyone wishing to explore the flip side of today's vehement attacks on American government, To Promote the General Welfare is the best place to start.

Review:

"These 10 articles from leading scholars address federal government activism in such areas as health, education, transportation, and the arts. In some areas, federal involvement has been direct; for example, while school public systems are governed locally, Washington provides about 10% of k — 12 funding. Similarly, antipoverty programs, such as the New Deal's Social Security Act and Aid for Dependent Children, have played a major role in reducing the poverty rate from around 40% in 1900 to 11.2% in 1974. At other times, Washington has exerted influence more subtly, through regulations and research. Examples include the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which mandated the separation of investment and commercial banking and the WWII-era research that yielded compounds to prevent and cure malaria, syphilis, and tuberculosis. Further, as public policy scholar Paul C. Light points out in a fascinating concluding piece, more than two-thirds of leading governmental initiatives have been supported by both Democratic and Republican administrations. However, Light adds, the massive tax cut in 2001 'continue to constrain federal investment in problem solving.' The scholars brought together by Ohio State historian Conn (History's Shadow) persuasively demonstrate how the growth of 'big government' throughout the 20th century has benefited ordinary Americans so comprehensively and unobtrusively that they have often taken it for granted." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Steven Conn is Professor and Director of Public History at Ohio State University. His books include Do Museums Still Need Objects?, Metropolitan Philadelphia: Living with the Presence of the Past, and History's Shadow: Native Americans and Historical Consciousness in the Nineteenth Century. He is the founding editor of the online magazine Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Looking for Government in All the Wrong Places

Brian Balogh

Chapter 2: From Franklin to Facebook: The Civic Mandate for American Communications

Richard R. John

Chapter 3: "Roads Will Everywhere Be Shortened": Transportation and the Uniting of the Nation

Zachary M. Schrag

Chapter 4: Banking on Government: The Federal Role in Credit, Finance and Banking

Michael S. Barr

Chapter 5: One Third of a Nation: Big Government and the Search for Security

Kevin Boyle

Chapter 6: How the Federal Government Built the American Dream

Thomas J. Sugrue

Chapter 7: From Hook Worm to HIV: Solving the Nation's Number One Health Problem(s)

Karen Kruse Thomas

Chapter 8: Uncle Sam at the Blackboard: The Federal Government and American Education

Jon Zimmerman

Chapter 9: Art and Culture in the Public Interest

Steven Conn

Chapter 10: Government's Greatest Hits in Peril

Paul C. Light

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199858552
Author:
Conn, Steven
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Subject:
United States - State & Local
Subject:
History - American
Subject:
Sociology-Children and Family
Subject:
History, American | Since 1945
Subject:
Politics-Political Science
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
5.5 x 8.1 x 0.8 in 0.5 lb

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Political Science
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199858552 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "These 10 articles from leading scholars address federal government activism in such areas as health, education, transportation, and the arts. In some areas, federal involvement has been direct; for example, while school public systems are governed locally, Washington provides about 10% of k — 12 funding. Similarly, antipoverty programs, such as the New Deal's Social Security Act and Aid for Dependent Children, have played a major role in reducing the poverty rate from around 40% in 1900 to 11.2% in 1974. At other times, Washington has exerted influence more subtly, through regulations and research. Examples include the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which mandated the separation of investment and commercial banking and the WWII-era research that yielded compounds to prevent and cure malaria, syphilis, and tuberculosis. Further, as public policy scholar Paul C. Light points out in a fascinating concluding piece, more than two-thirds of leading governmental initiatives have been supported by both Democratic and Republican administrations. However, Light adds, the massive tax cut in 2001 'continue to constrain federal investment in problem solving.' The scholars brought together by Ohio State historian Conn (History's Shadow) persuasively demonstrate how the growth of 'big government' throughout the 20th century has benefited ordinary Americans so comprehensively and unobtrusively that they have often taken it for granted." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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