Growth of the U.S. Government: 1915-2015

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Graves, Bronwyn
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
The Constitution vests the United States government with specific powers and authorities not given to any single citizen. As time has gone by, the U.S. government has not only used all of its powers but has pushed against the boundaries of what it can do, at certain times pushing past those barriers into new areas of authority. The impetus of government action is crisis, and with each new crisis, the government finds new channels of power to achieve its agenda. In our modern times, when it seems like a new crisis is around every corner, we need to realize what our government is gaining by crying emergency. The emergency atmosphere empowers the government to take bigger steps for the so-called good of the country. Mobilizing industrial resources, conscription, price-fixing, and increasing regulation are just some of the ways the government has expanded its power over the past century. As informed citizens, we have a legitimate right to investigate the complicated interworking of our government structure. We should know who pulls the strings of what government agencies, and when those strings are pulled the most. We should know the patterns of action of political actors and when those patterns create increases in government power and authority. This thesis attempts to pinpoint where most of the government growth has occurred over the past century, and what forms the growth of authority takes in the present day.
taxation, government growth, legislation, government spending