Liberty, Property, and Privacy: Toward a Jurisprudence of Substantive Due Process

By Edward Keynes | Go to book overview

6
The Much-Acclaimed Demise of Substantive Due Process, 1921-1991

During the twentieth century the United States has faced both domestic and international crises that have promoted the growth of governmental power and the imposition of new restraints on liberty, property, and privacy rights. In the 1930s, for example, Americans turned toward government to ameliorate the social and economic effects of the Great Depression. Overwhelmed by the depression, the states pressured the national government for temporary assistance to fifteen million unemployed workers.1 The limited welfare state that emerged as a temporary response to the depression has since blossomed into a permanent public-service state that redistributes income, provides a great variety of services, and employs more than seventeen million Americans.2

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1
Richard B. Morris and Graham W. Irwin, eds., Harper Encyclopedia of the Modern World ( New York: Harper & Row, 1970), 868. In 1932-33 the number of unemployed reached fifteen million.
2
See Charles Reich, "The New Property," 73 Yale L.J.733-87 ( 1964), 733. Reich argues that government has become "a major source of wealth." By 1990 government accounted for more than 12 percent of the gross national product and employed almost 15 percent of the civilian labor force. The nonmilitary government (local, state, and federal) labor force was 17,373,000, while the national civilian labor force was 121,700,000. Government's share of the gross national product was $535.3 out of a total of $4,526.7 trillion. See Statistical Abstract of the United States, 110th ed. ( Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1990), 378, 395, 426.

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