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The Growth of American Government from the End of Reconstruction and the end of World War II

Powerful Essays
In the past, the nation’s government took the “laissez-faire” approach to dealing with the economy and/or free market affairs. The government intervened as little as possible, asserting the belief felt that if left alone, economic problems would be resolved without government interference. However, this approach was not guaranteed, and at times, the government had to put aside the “laissez-faire” approach of the past. The government had no other choice but to intervene in these instances to return balance to the economy and protect its citizens it served. The government changed both its approach and its size through programs initiated by the Industrial Revolution, New Deal programs during and following the Great Depression, and World War II, forever changing the relationship between Americans and their Government.

During the Industrial Revolution with the massive railroad production across the country, the railroad executives were clever, strong-minded, mostly dishonest men who bribed congressmen, and conducted crooked financial deals who became known as “robber barons”. 1 As railroads expanded transportation across the country, it opened up a vast market for competition and over production of farm products. The railroad executives took advantage of the fact that the railroad was the only transportation that some farmers had to ship their products. Since the railroads had formed monopolies, they were free to charge whatever rates they saw fit and took full advantage of this by price discrimination. They offered discounts and rebates to big corporations with large loads which the individual farmer did not have. Nor did farmers have the political influence to fight the railroads on these matters.2 Therefore, in 1877, t...

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11. American A Narrative History 8th Edition, George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shir, W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., New York 2010 book pg 1086-87

12. HI 1073 United States History 1877-Present Discussion Manual Spring 2011 CH 5 – The Interwar Years, 58. Social Security Act (1935).

13. American A Narrative History 8th Edition, George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shir, W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., New York 2010 book Page 1197

14. HI 1073 United States History 1877-Present Discussion Manual Spring 2011 CH 6 – World War II, 70. The GI Bill of Rights (1944).

15. American A Narrative History 8th Edition, George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shir, W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., New York 2010 pg 1209

16. American A Narrative History 8th Edition, George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shir, W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., New York 2010 page 1218
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