Essay, Experiment, And Strange Vagary
A merica has passed out of the phase in which it was observed by De Tocqueville, and the same . . . administrative institutions . . . will fit her no longer," the English scholar Goldwin Smith noted approvingly after an 1865 visit to the re-United States.1 But, as the preceding chapter indicates, the common functional denominator of the new "administrative institutions" was data-collection and reporting. Smith measured the motion of the new state and local agencies rather than their impact.
Very soon after Appomattox even velocity became worrisome. Improvers feared that, by pioneering new functional arenas for states and especially cities to enter, they had opened dangerous ways to persons and groups less responsible than themselves, who retained control of public policies through politics. Even while Appomattox's "new era" optimism prevailed, Theodore Woolsey warned that "disaffected people" might misdirect voters and create undesirable police power exercises. But in 1865 he was hopeful that his sort would lead to rational goals and that social science would replace irrational, corrupt politics.2
These attitudes are illustrated by the fact that, except for New York's Health Board and Illinois's Granger commission,____________________