WWII to the 60s the essay

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Wilson, a student of public administration, favored more governmental regulation and action during a time when large monopolies still existed. He saw the role of public administration as "government in action; it is the executive, the operative, the most visible side of government, and is of course as old as government itself" (Wilson 235). The pendelum swung, though, and the government was blamed for many of the ills that caused the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt, despite being called draconian, knew that he had to launch programs that would have a quick effect upon the struggling economy; resulting the New Deal -- a complex, interlocking set of programs designed to produce jobs, economic recovery, and fiscal reform of banking and Wall Street -- exactly what was needed, it seems to turn the Titanic in a new direction (Badger). Then, of course, came the war, which stimulated the economy like nothing else, but also created shortages and hardships. When the war was over, the social pressures were far different. There was a new level of expectation from the returning GIs, new technology that kept the world within one's living room, suburban growth, more technological jobs, and as the decades progressed Civil Rights, Women's Rights, an unpopular "police action," and a fundamental and aggressive War on Poverty. All these events required a different type of public administration, one that was less "governmental" than the New Deal, and one that would be more socially resopnsible to the evolving needs of the population. This culminates still with not the Congress making some of the decisions about public money, but according to the New Administrative State, the Courts acting in a new role -- that of juridical federalism (Wright 254).

Question 4 -- Fesler and post-war public administration - The post-war period of American history provided a number of challenges that focused on cultural, political, social, technological, and administrative functions. From 1933 to 1939, Americans saw public administration in a new light -- a combined rescue effort that would literally change the face of the country; providing jobs, housing, a new lifestyle, and protections never before offered. From 1941-1946 America was operating in the midst of a war economy; production of certain items pushed the economy, and there was an actual shortage of qualified workers as opposed to too high unemployment. During the early years of the Cold War American technology (nuclear weapons, the television, automobiles, beginnings of minituraization, and because of lessons learned in the war, the age of plastics and "better living through chemistry"), all changing the expectations of the public towards the government. Yet, under the specter of HUAC and McCarthyism, the 1950s were a time of political paranoia -- a communist under every rock caused many in the government to err on the side of caution rather than to be seen as having any possible socialist leanings (Halberstam).

According to political scientist James Fesler, the dichotomy between the literature about public administration in this post-war period through at least the Kennedy administration came as a result of the different approaches to the subject juxtaposed with the complex cultural and social factors viewed above. Depending on one's stance, the role and purpose of public administration during this 15-year period could be social in nature (Civil Rights, poverty), educational (Sputnik Scare, Peace Corps), political (Red Scare, militarism, Vietnam), or a combination of trying to see America in a new role as the leader of the free world, in fierce political competition with the Soviet Union, and yet rife with tension and dissatisfaction at home (Fesler).


Badger, A. FDR - The First Hundred Days. New York: Macmillan, 2009.

Cooper, P. Public Law and Public Administration. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988.

Fesler, J. "Public Administration and the Social Sciences: 1946-1969." Mosher, F. American Public Administration: Past, Present, Future. Washington, DC & Birmingham, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 1975. 97-142.

Halberstam, D. The Fifties. New York: Ballantine, 1994.

Orbacj, B. "The New Regulatory Era - An Introduction." Arizona Law Review 51.3 (2009): 559+.

Shepherd, G. "Fierce Compromise: The Administrative Procedure Act Emerges From New Deal Politics." Administrative and Regulatory Law News 22.2 (1997).

Wilson, W. Woodrow Wilson: The Essential Political Writings. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2005.

Wright, D. "A Century of…[continue]

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