The growth of the federal government between the years 1865 and 1945 was characterized by a great deal of industrialization. There was a great change in society’s workforce. The reconstructions that were going on were a result of the impacts that resulted from the world wars and the civil war of the United States of America.1 It was during this period that African Americans suffered a great deal of oppression from the whites in that they were denied their rights. It is indeed during this particular period that the industrial growth came as a result of the cheap labor that was readily provided by the African Americans. It was also during this period that population growth was high as a result of immigration. Industrial growth was both domestically and internationally.2 This is evident by the fact that at the end of the ninetieth century, the United States of America was regarded as the most powerful nation in terms of industrialization, rise in technology, growth of infrastructure and increase in natural resources.
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How and why the federal government increased so rapidly in size and scope of activity from Reconstruction through World War II
The federal government increased in terms of economic gains. One of the main reasons why there was a significant growth of the federal government during this period as well as a rapid increase in size and scope of its activity was due to the powers, authority, and resources that it retained after the Second World War.3 This is because some of the American agencies had taken very prominent and influential positions around the globe during the war which they still maintained after the war ended. The resources that were retained were helpful in the process of industrial growth especially in terms of processing of raw materials and technological advancement.4 Another important factor that contributed to the growth of the government economically was the fact that during the war, most of the citizens were forced to pay high taxes.5 The high tax rates were not lowered after the war ended and thus the government earned high levels of income and revenues. This was boosted by the fact that many immigrants in the Nation amounted to approximately thirteen million. This number added not only to the list of people in the workforce but also to the list of taxpayers.
The impact of the growth on American lives
Despite the fact that the growth was very advantageous, it also had some great impacts on the lives of Americans. One of the major negative impacts was a great tax burden imposed on Americans due to the need for the federal government to build the nation’s infrastructure and industries. In addition, there was a rise in the cost of living in the United States of America which worked to the disadvantage of the common Americans. The high cost of living resulted from the new technologies and the industrial revolution. There was also a rise in crime rates due to high unemployment rates around the globe that were fuelled by the devastations caused by the wars. As a result, the United States experienced a high rate of immigrants who came to the U.S. in search of jobs.6
- Edwards, Chris. Downsizing the federal government. New York: Cato Institute, 2005.
- Friedman, Benjamin. The moral consequences of economic growth. London: Vintage Books, 2005.
- Gordon, Gerald. The formulae for economic growth on main street America. Canada: CRC Press, 2009.
- Olson, Ron. U.S History 1865-present: from reconstruction through the dawn of the 21st century. Canada: Career Press, 2007.
- Steuerle, Eugene. Contemporary U.S Tax Policy. Cambridge: The Urban Institute, 2008.
- World Bank. World Development Report. New York: World Bank Publications, 1997.
- Ron Olson, U.S History 1865-present: from reconstruction through the dawn of the 21st century (Canada: Career Press, 2007) 13.
- Chris Edwards, Downsizing the Federal Government (New York: Cato Institute, 2005) 31.
- Gerald Gordon, The formulae for economic growth on main street America (Canada: CRC Press, 2009) 27.
- World Bank, World Development Report (New York: World Bank Publications, 1997) 36.
- Eugene Steuerle, Contemporary U.S Tax Policy (Cambridge: The Urban Institute, 2008) 62.
- Benjamin Friedman, The moral consequences of economic growth (London: Vintage Books, 2005) 13.