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Federal Government Expansion During World War I Essay

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Updated: Mar 31st, 2020

During World War I, the federal government of the United States expanded its bureaucracies. In particular, the state created a variety of temporary agencies that were needed for the effective support of the U.S. Army. Apart from that, the country assumed a rigid control infrastructure and industrial production.

This result was achieved with the help of various laws and regulations. Moreover, the state acquired the authority to limit the freedom of an individual. This process had long-term implications that can still be observed in modern American society. These are the major questions that should be discussed more closely.

The period between 1914 and 1918 was marked by the increased role of the federal government in the United States and the dramatic expansion of its bureaucracies. This paper is aimed at discussing various examples of this expansion during World War I. On the whole; it is possible to argue that this institution became a powerful agent that could profoundly shape economic activities in the country and control its infrastructure.

To a great extent, this goal was achieved by creating new governmental agencies or adopting new regulations. More importantly, the government acquired the authority to suppress the individuals who opposed its policies. These are the main aspects that should be examined in greater detail because the legacies of this period are still noticeable in contemporary America.

First, it should be noted that the federal government assumed a much stronger control over industrial production and agriculture. This step was critical for the support of the U.S. Army that had to carry out large-scale operations in various regions of the world. Moreover, the state nationalized some of the major railroads because, in this way, they tried to ensure the effective transportation of raw materials needed by the military personnel.

To a great extent, this policy was supposed to adjust the American economy to wartime needs. This is one of the points that can make. Furthermore, one should mention the establishment of the War Industries Board, which was an important federal agency that was responsible for the supply of the U.S. Army.

Furthermore, the federal government began to play a more active part in the financial life of the country. For example, one can speak about the emission of liberty bonds that helped the state to finance the long-term military effort of the American government.

One should also keep in mind that the state attempted to influence public opinion. For example, the government established the Committee on Public Information. It was responsible for the creation of propaganda which could prompt people to form a favorable opinion about the policies of the state. One of its major objectives was to show that the United States had to become involved in this military conflict. The existence of such an organization was unprecedented before the start of World War I.

The major trend that could be observed during that period was the creation of many temporary agencies which were vital at the time when the American government had to operate oversees. Among them, one could distinguish Food Administration, which worked closely with the U.S. Army. On the whole, these examples suggest that the expenditures of the Federal Government rose dramatically.

Apart from that, the number of workers employed by the federal government also increased significantly, and this trend was not reversed after the war; instead, it only intensified. This is one of the key details that can be distinguished.

Moreover, it is critical to speak about the adoption of the Sedition Act in 1918. This law enabled the government to prosecute every individual who could be critical of the American government and foreign policy during World War I.

Therefore, the government dramatically increased its authorities, especially its ability to limit the freedom of expression. This is another trend that should not be overlooked because it indicates that wartime emergencies can make the government virtually omnipotent. So, it was not easy for a person to protest against the state and the decisions of policy-makers.

It is critical to remember that the regulations which emerged during this period remained after the end of this military conflict. For example, one can speak about the regulation of railroads. This is why the legacies of this period should not be disregarded. Moreover, since that time, the size of the federal government did not decrease. To some degree, these legacies continue to shape the life of American society, especially if one speaks about the growing number of federal agencies regulating the work of various industries.

On the whole, this discussion indicates that during World War I, the federal government dramatically increased its influence on economic and public life. The government created a set of institutions and enacted various regulations that profoundly influenced the activities of various businesses and individuals. There were various temporary agencies to support the needs of the U.S. Army. Nevertheless, the federal government only continued to grow after this war. These are the main issues that can be singled out.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Federal Government Expansion During World War I." March 31, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/federal-government-expansion-during-world-war-i/.

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