Account For The Growing Involvement Of The Federal Government And Its Bureaucratic Movement In The American West. What Are The Progressive Legacies Of This Movement
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Account for the growing involvement of the federal government and its bureaucratic movement in the American West. What are the Progressive legacies of this movement?
The Reclamation Act of 1902 set out a new precedent in terms of federal power as the Federal government acted in the interest of 20 states by the passage of this act. Through this act, federal government gained the authority to commission projects for water retention, diversion and transmission in the American West. The Bureau of Reclamation commissioned and executed several projects within five years. These projects were undertaken and executed by the bureaucracy and made the federal government more interventionist than it had ever been in the country’s history.
The Boulder Canyon Project Act also served to further the growing role of federal government. Later renamed Hoover Dam, the project was indeed a necessity and extremely beneficial in the long run but its execution showed that federal government was increasing its influence by the day. Bureaucrats controlled this project as well – a testament to their growing role in state territories.
One of the Progressive legacies of this growing involvement of federal government and its bureaucratic movement is the crackdown on trusts by the federal government under Theodore Roosevelt. This curbing of trusts was the most visible sign of growing federal power as Presidents after Roosevelt continued to make decisions that undermined state authority. The steps taken by President Hoover were even more interventionist and arguably worsened the situation after the Great Depression, instead of correcting it. Artificially keeping wages high and doubling tax rates did not help. Another legacy is the New Deal by President Franklin Roosevelt. This created organizations like Tennessee Valley Authority that created artificial jobs and further emboldened the federal government to expand its power even more. Arguably, these actions by federal government were necessary, but the ever increasing role of federal government was evident from the actions such as Reclamation Act, Boulder Canyon Project Act and Anti-Sherman Trust Act, the last of which was pursued relentlessly by Theodore Roosevelt.
Milner, I. I., et al. "Major Problems in the History of the American West." (1997)
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