Technology and Society: The Influence of Machines in the United States

By S. Mckee Rosen ; Laura Rosen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
THE CHANGING FEDERAL SYSTEM: NATIONAL
GOVERNMENT

Financial Aspects

The Broad Picture.In the preceding chapter, the growth of intergovernmental cooperation is stressed as one of the leading features of recent times. Through financial aid, joint undertakings, mutual planning, the exchange of advisory and informational services, and a host of other developments, public agencies at all levels are being more closely interwoven than ever before. So interconnected are federal, state, and local governments today that it is difficult frequently to see where one begins and another leaves off.

It is no longer possible to conceive of political power as neatly divided in accordance with the provisions of a written constitution. Both the nation and the constitution have moved far since the early days of the Republic. To believe that eighteenth-century statesmen could plan effectively for the twentieth century is as preposterous as to assume that adequate blueprints for the twenty-second century are now being created in the halls of state.

None other than James Madison appeared to be fully cognizant of such facts one hundred and fifty years ago when he wrote:

" If . . . the people should in the future, become more partial to the Federal than to the state governments, the change can only result from such manifest and irresistible proofs of better administration, as will overcome all their antecedent propensities, and in that case the people ought not surely to be precluded from giving most of their confidence where they may discover it most due. . . ."

Recent Government Expenditures.Prophetic as Madison's insight seems to have been, even he would be astonished

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