Executive Reorganization and Reform in the New Deal: The Genesis of Administrative Management, 1900-1939

Executive Reorganization and Reform in the New Deal: The Genesis of Administrative Management, 1900-1939

Executive Reorganization and Reform in the New Deal: The Genesis of Administrative Management, 1900-1939

Executive Reorganization and Reform in the New Deal: The Genesis of Administrative Management, 1900-1939

Excerpt

In 1939, through a series of plans submitted to the Congress, Franklin Roosevelt reorganized the presidency of the United States. The action caused scarcely a ripple in the still apprehension of a world awaiting a war. Less than a year earlier proposals for executive reorganization had become involved in the furor over executive dictation, court packing, and a multitude of similarly fearful accusations. Clothed now in compromise and mantled in the mutual adjustments long characteristic of the Roosevelt revolution, executive reorganization helped effect the transition from the government of the New Deal to that of the Second World War.

What did this mean in fact? There was still one President, elected to a four-year term. He had become neither Prime Minister, nor King, nor Dictator, nor Consul, nor indeed any other of the historical definitions of leadership raised as threat or salvation by those who criticized FDR and his habits of governing. He was still subject to the same constitutional restraints and responsibilities. Reorganization had not re-established his relation to the courts or the Congress. What had it done, then?

From a purely practical point of view it had set up the Executive Office of the President and a White House staff which now included the Bureau of the Budget and the National Resources Planning Board. It had enabled the President to appoint administrative assistants. It had given the President the authority to shift certain of the existing offices of government and to reorganize them by reorganization plans, submitted to Congress to become law if not vetoed by that body. It had . . .

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