The Growth of American Government: Governance from the Cleveland Era to the Present

The Growth of American Government: Governance from the Cleveland Era to the Present

The Growth of American Government: Governance from the Cleveland Era to the Present

The Growth of American Government: Governance from the Cleveland Era to the Present


"This ambitious, well-written book will be a useful resource for scholars... an excellent overview... a fine, readable introduction that presents its analysis in a straightforward manner free from ideological baggage." - Congress & The Presidency

"A refreshingly unorthodox narrative. Campbell [explains] in plain language how government grew. His stance is neither liberal nor conservative, but simply well-informed and reasonable." -- Walter Nugent, University of Notre Dame

"The canvas is large, but one comes away from the book with an understanding of what has happened, the factors contributing to these developments, and their consequences. Strongly recommended." -- Samuel McSeveney, Vanderbilt University

"Ballard Campbell has synthesized an amazing range of material: federal, state and even local studies, from history, political science, economics, and assorted other specialized studies. The product is a strikingly comprehensive and readable history of the rise of government in the USA. Even better, it provides a coherent explanation of why the state grew so large." -- Richard Jensen, University of Illinois-Chicago

"His overview (chapter 2) should be a compulsory assignment for any seminar on modern political culture... " -- The Journal of American History

"Campbell's book is a marvelous multidisciplinary synthesis that builds on the findings of historians of national, state, and local government, along with those of economists and political scientists, to provide a coherent account of the rise of modern American governing structures." -- Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"The book should be useful in the classroom, even for freshmen classes in U. S. history and government." -- American Historical Review

"Readable, and refreshingly unorthodox, Campbell provides a coherent explanation of how and why government has become so large. His book deserves inclusion in any undergraduate bibliography covering the development of American government." -- Political Studies Association

This engaging survey of the growth of government in America in the last century focuses on the evolution of public policy and its relationship to the constitutional and political structure of government at the federal, state, and local levels.


Government in the United States underwent a major transformation in the years after 1887. Before the i88os government performed a limited range of functions and rarely intruded into everyday life. in our own time the public sector manages an immense array of programs that affect all aspects of society. the manifestations of this new civic agenda are so common that we take them for granted. We expect roads to be paved, plowed, and policed. We are annoyed when potholes sit unfilled. We take as a matter of course that our children can go to high school without charge, that someone will automatically collect our garbage, and that the water flowing from our faucets is pure and clean. We expect government to help people who fall on hard times and to prevent the elderly from living in destitution. Announcement of a new disease triggers our presumption that public health officials have already begun their search for a cure.

Our great grandparents might have dreamed of such assistance, but they did not expect it. They lived in a different political time, when public officials attended to comparatively few civic tasks. Government did not guarantee the security of their bank deposits or ban hazardous substances from their workplaces. It did not say that denial of a job because an applicant was black or female was illegal. It did not even print a uniform dollar bill. Life was riskier a hundred years ago. in prior generations individuals were forced to rely more on themselves and private organizations than is now the case. Today we are shielded from many of life's uncertainties because government has applied collective solutions to com-

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