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Democracy and the Origins of the American Regulatory State$
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Samuel DeCanio

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300198782

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300198782.001.0001

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The Modern Regulatory State

The Modern Regulatory State

(p.13) Chapter 1 The Modern Regulatory State
Democracy and the Origins of the American Regulatory State

Samuel DeCanio

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the historical transformation of the modern regulatory state and suggests that the expansion of bureaucratic authority is an institutional innovation rather than a result of changes in the American economy. It examines three novel characteristics that distinguish the postbellum state from prior forms of American government. First, the level of government was altered, and new forms of authority were placed in the hands of federal officials. Second, there was a shift in power from legislatures and courts to executive bureaucrats and independent commissions. Third, the federal state pursued regulatory objectives that increasingly focused on the market price system. The chapter considers this institutional shift within the context of party ideologies before the Civil War, with particular emphasis on the political parties' positions on issues ranging from federal power to the role of respective branches of government, along with the types of government action they endorsed.

Keywords:   regulatory state, bureaucratic authority, economy, government, executive bureaucrats, independent commissions, market price system, party ideologies, political parties, federal power

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