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Americans love to hate their government, and a long tradition of anti-government suspicion reaches back to debates among the founders of the nation. But the election of Barack Obama has created a backlash rivaled only by the anti-government hysteria that preceded the Civil War. Lost in all the Tea Party rage and rhetoric is this simple fact: the federal government plays a c Americans love to hate their government, and a long tradition of anti-government suspicion reaches back to debates among the founders of the nation. But the election of Barack Obama has created a backlash rivaled only by the anti-government hysteria that preceded the Civil War. Lost in all the Tea Party rage and rhetoric is this simple fact: the federal government plays a central role in making our society function, and it always has. Edited by Steven Conn and written by some of America's leading scholars, the essays in To Promote the General Welfare explore the many ways government programs have improved the quality of life in America. The essays cover everything from education, communication, and transportation to arts and culture, housing, finance, and public health. They explore how and why government programs originated, how they have worked and changed--and been challenged--since their inception, and why many of them are important to preserve. The book shows how the WPA provided vital, in some cases career-saving, assistance to artists and writers like Jackson Pollock, Dorothea Lange, Richard Wright, John Cheever, and scores of others; how millions of students from diverse backgrounds have benefited and continue to benefit from the G.I. Bill, Fulbright scholarships, and federally insured student loans; and how the federal government created an Interstate highway system unparalleled in the world, linking the entire nation. These are just a few examples of highly successful programs the book celebrates--and that anti-government critics typically ignore. For anyone wishing to explore the flip side of today's vehement attacks on American government, To Promote the General Welfare is the best place to start. Features * America's foremost historians analyze the history of the most pressing current issues revolving around the federal government * Forcefully makes the case for the active role of government in American life * Well-balanced and serious consideration of the federal government's place in health care, security, finance, and infrastructure


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Americans love to hate their government, and a long tradition of anti-government suspicion reaches back to debates among the founders of the nation. But the election of Barack Obama has created a backlash rivaled only by the anti-government hysteria that preceded the Civil War. Lost in all the Tea Party rage and rhetoric is this simple fact: the federal government plays a c Americans love to hate their government, and a long tradition of anti-government suspicion reaches back to debates among the founders of the nation. But the election of Barack Obama has created a backlash rivaled only by the anti-government hysteria that preceded the Civil War. Lost in all the Tea Party rage and rhetoric is this simple fact: the federal government plays a central role in making our society function, and it always has. Edited by Steven Conn and written by some of America's leading scholars, the essays in To Promote the General Welfare explore the many ways government programs have improved the quality of life in America. The essays cover everything from education, communication, and transportation to arts and culture, housing, finance, and public health. They explore how and why government programs originated, how they have worked and changed--and been challenged--since their inception, and why many of them are important to preserve. The book shows how the WPA provided vital, in some cases career-saving, assistance to artists and writers like Jackson Pollock, Dorothea Lange, Richard Wright, John Cheever, and scores of others; how millions of students from diverse backgrounds have benefited and continue to benefit from the G.I. Bill, Fulbright scholarships, and federally insured student loans; and how the federal government created an Interstate highway system unparalleled in the world, linking the entire nation. These are just a few examples of highly successful programs the book celebrates--and that anti-government critics typically ignore. For anyone wishing to explore the flip side of today's vehement attacks on American government, To Promote the General Welfare is the best place to start. Features * America's foremost historians analyze the history of the most pressing current issues revolving around the federal government * Forcefully makes the case for the active role of government in American life * Well-balanced and serious consideration of the federal government's place in health care, security, finance, and infrastructure

33 review for To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adriel

    Edited by Steven Conn, To Promote the General Welfare, details the enormous contribution of American federal power in improving lives, raising the standard of living, leveling the playing field of commercial markets, building the infrastructure, and insuring the freedom and responsibility of the commercial markets. The ten essays by notable scholars and historians present an overwhelming case for big government doing big things. This analysis and documentation of the efforts of government to ful Edited by Steven Conn, To Promote the General Welfare, details the enormous contribution of American federal power in improving lives, raising the standard of living, leveling the playing field of commercial markets, building the infrastructure, and insuring the freedom and responsibility of the commercial markets. The ten essays by notable scholars and historians present an overwhelming case for big government doing big things. This analysis and documentation of the efforts of government to fulfill the demand of the opening charge of the constitution, "to promote the general welfare" was written largely as a rebuttal to the lunatic tea bagging fringe and as well as the neo-states rightists and Randian libertarians. In it, we learn that not only were the roads and railroads established by government power but also telegraph, radio, internet and other communication methods, the great bridges and dams, and even the enormous contribution of the intangible but remarkable institutions such as the Supreme Court, the balance of powers, the protection of first amendment rights, and the freedom of the American people from discrimination and slavery and labor abuses. These powerful endeavors go all the way back to day one, when the Postal Service, guided by Benjamin Franklin, had as its most important purpose, not just the delivery of letters, but the dissemination of newspapers which tied together the states in a democracy which requires an informed public. Early on, the Federal government was highly involved in citizens personal health and public sanitation, as well as the vaccination (again promoted by Franklin) right on up to the Centers for Disease Control, Medicare, Medicaid, the National Institute of Health, and the FDA. Surely everyone at least by now acknowledges the immense value of the New Deal with the WPA, the CCC, the Hoover Dam, Social Security and later Medicaid and family assistance but there continues today the expansion of markets, the control of interstate commerce, the Federal Reserve Bank, a national currency, job training, worker safety, the protection of the environment, the national defense, the Coast Guard, the requirement for public education, college loans, the national parks, the internet, the expansion of home ownership, GPS and the national weather service and the space program, the restraint of monopolies, the reduction of hunger, job training, public broadcasting, the promotion of the arts, the FBI and NSA and CIA and other investigative and federal justice protections, control of shipping lanes and freedom from piracy and controlled fisheries---the list can fill a book and To Promote the General Welfare is a worthy book that can just barely give mention to benefits of a powerful and activist democracy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    As a multi-author endeavor, this book suffers from the typical uneven quality typical of such books. Some of the chapters were excellent, others just so-so. I still found it worth reading and anyone who thinks government is the problem, and not the solution, should read this. Although our government has not always succeeds in what it has set out to do, it has done very well for the most part.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Mackie

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hugh

  7. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

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    Peter Flom

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    Stephen Perrotti

  10. 4 out of 5

    Miles Hartl

  11. 4 out of 5

    Railroad_Ross

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jarrett

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

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    Amanda

  15. 4 out of 5

    Metalgorilla

  16. 5 out of 5

    Z

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    Hoss Layne

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Metz-Matthews

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason Kessler

  20. 5 out of 5

    N

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

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    Carol B.

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    Kate

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    Ron Bohannon

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    Gavin

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    Robert Beiler

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    Nathan Lamp

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gus

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

  31. 5 out of 5

    Val

  32. 4 out of 5

    Mallory Johnson

  33. 4 out of 5

    Robert Jerge

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