To Enlarge the Machinery of Government: Congressional Debates and the Growth of the American State, 1858-1891

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JHU Press, 2007 M08 16 - 280 pages

How did the federal government change from the weak apparatus of the antebellum period to the large, administrative state of the Progressive Era? To Enlarge the Machinery of Government explores the daily proceedings of the U.S. House and Senate from 1858 to 1891 to find answers to this question.

Through close readings of debates centered around sponsorship, supervision, and standardization recorded in the Congressional Globe and Congressional Record during this period, Williamjames Hull Hoffer traces a critical shift in ideas that ultimately ushered in Progressive legislation: the willingness of American citizens to allow, and in fact ask for, federal intervention in their daily lives. He describes this era of congressional thought as a "second state," distinct from both the minimalist approaches that came before and the Progressive state building that developed later. The "second state" era, Hoffer contends, offers valuable insight into how conceptions of American uniqueness contributed to the shape of the federal government.

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The Great Noisy Reedy Jarring Assembly The Capitol Lawyers and Public Space
A Government of States Sponsorship and the First Debate on Land Grant Colleges 18581861
The Object of a Democratic Government Sponsorship and Supervision of Agriculture and Land Grant Colleges 18611863
A Government of Law Sponsorship and Supervising the Freedom Abondoned Lands and refugees 18631865
The Two Great Pillars of the State The Supervision and Standardization of Education and Law Enforcement 18651876
To Change the Nature of the Government StandardizingSchooling and the Civil Service 18761883
What Constitutes a State Supervising Labor and Commerce 18831886
A System Entirely Satisfactory to the Country Standardizing Labor and the Courts 18861891
To Answer Our Purposes It Must Be Adapted
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About the author (2007)

Williamjames Hull Hoffer is an assistant professor of history at Seton Hall University and coeditor of The Abortion Rights Controversy in America: A Legal Reader.

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