Control of Federal Expenditures: A Documentary History, 1775-1894

Control of Federal Expenditures: A Documentary History, 1775-1894

Control of Federal Expenditures: A Documentary History, 1775-1894

Control of Federal Expenditures: A Documentary History, 1775-1894

Excerpt

Within the last few years there has been an awakening of public interest in the matter of control over the expenditures of the national government and a revival of interest within the group of special students of public administration and of public finance. There are few books on the subject; and the basic materials are widely scattered through numerous official publications which are out of print and available in few libraries. Bibliographical aids and indexes are unsatisfactory.

These materials cover a period of well over a century. They constitute an almost continuous record of what was thought, or at least said, by the men who participated in debates on financial and accounting bills, of the facts and arguments presented by legislative committees, and of the results achieved by officials responsible for administering the system which was evolved through a long series of statutes.

It is not a complete record. Important measures have been sometimes introduced and enacted without adequate reports or recorded discussion. It is not a perfect record. Discussion has been sometimes ill-informed, insincere, prejudiced, partisan, or irrelevant; reports in some cases have been the same.

When one attempts to subject the official records to the test of comparison with the personal papers of the men who have participated in financial legislation or administration, the result is often disappointing, for the subject of finance has seldom been the major interest of biographers, "literary executors," and compilers of "works" and "writings."

It is the purpose of the present compilation to bring together in a single volume the significant materials, official and unofficial, underlying the financial history of the United States on the disbursement side, from the beginning to 1894, when the Cockrell-Dockery Act introduced fundamental changes in the system. Such a volume, it is believed, will serve the legislator and the administrator as a work of refer-

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