The Commission on Intergovernmental Relations: A Report to the President for Transmittal to the Congress

The Commission on Intergovernmental Relations: A Report to the President for Transmittal to the Congress

The Commission on Intergovernmental Relations: A Report to the President for Transmittal to the Congress

The Commission on Intergovernmental Relations: A Report to the President for Transmittal to the Congress

Excerpt

The United States has made a major contribution to the art of government by its successful operation of a federal system. This success has been especially noteworthy in view of the enormous strains on the system caused by military and economic emergencies of the sort that have occurred during the past quarter- century, and by the cumulative effect of the more gradual changes brought about by a dynamic and expanding economy.

In recent years, the almost continuous presence of a crisis, either economic or military, has accounted for vast expansions of National activities. Many of these programs have been of an emergency nature; a great many others, however, have lastingly influenced the division of governmental responsibilities between the National Government and the States.

Profound as their impact has been, war and economic crisis have not been the only major causes of the growing pressure for National action. Equally insistent pressures have been brought about by intensified industrialization and population shifts from rural to urban areas; new advances in transportation and communications; and, flowing from these developments, greatly accelerated mobility of people and interchange of ideas.

These changes have been reflected in part in a growing governmental concern with the economic and social welfare of the individual. And many individuals who once looked no further than their city hall or State capitol now turn toward Washington when problems arise. We are doing today as a Nation many things that we once did as individuals, as local communities, or as States.

The extensive readjustment of National and State responsibilities in recent decades was bound to stir questioning of the continued vitality of our federal system. Candor would probably compel many thoughtful Americans to admit having experienced some fear or occasional doubt on this score, at one stage or another of this momentous period.

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