The Department of Justice and the limits of the new deal state, 1933-1945
- This dissertation traces the history of the Department of Justice from the first days of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration through the final days of World War II. It is structured around a series of case studies which examine attempts by four administrators -- at the Antitrust Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Criminal Division -- to expand their resources and effect specific policy aims by linking their respective goals to the broader project of state expansion in the Roosevelt years. Part one follows the development of federal antitrust policy toward industry and labor, focusing specifically on the Justice Department's suits against the leading players of the motion picture industry and against labor unions engaged in jurisdictional disputes. Both cases present instances of bold intervention by Antitrust Division attorneys confident in their use of federal power in economic affairs. The last three chapters consider the far more limited ambitions of federal officials in dealing with state and local law enforcement officers, particularly with respect to the treatment of prisoners and the accused. Throughout the 1930s, federal policy was tentative, reactive, and largely based on voluntary rather than statutory programs. The sole example of coercive intervention in local police matters, through criminal prosecution of police brutality, faltered on both practical and ideological grounds, underscoring the limits of national law enforcement policy within the prevailing federalist order. The most ambitious programs of the Roosevelt years were aimed at private individuals and organizations -- corporations and unions; workers and retirees; the poor and the unemployed -- both as beneficiaries of federal aid and as the objects of coercive federal power. Together, all five chapters illuminate key elements of New Deal state expansion. By any measure, the Justice Department was a far more substantial institution in 1945 than it had been on the eve of Roosevelt's inaugural. The development of the Justice Department conformed to broader trends toward bureaucratization, professionalization, and centralization which began in earnest with the Progressive Era and reached their apex in the New Deal. The history of the Justice Department also speaks to the nature of the federal bureaucracy in the Depression decade -- the Department of Justice of the 1930s was still an agency in flux, composed of mostly autonomous divisions whose institutional character was determined by the administrator at the helm. Finally, the study of the Justice Department highlights the conceptual fluidity of the New Deal. While the core New Deal project centered on rationalizing capitalism and promoting economic security, administrators across the executive branch succeeded in linking a far broader reform agenda to the principal thrust of New Deal reform. The explicit links administrators and contemporary observers alike drew between economic recovery and more peripheral reform projects articulated a positive vision of federal power that extended beyond the bread and butter issues at the heart of the New Deal.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|2010, c2011; 2010
|Stanford University, Department of History.
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of History.
|Ph.D. Stanford University 2011
- © 2011 by Maria Ponomarenko
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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