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Laissez-faire policy has always been a fundamental principle of the federal government. Between the years of 1860 and 1900, the governments role seems to be very small. New government policies are almost nonexistent and the few policies they enforced were standard government administrations. However, toward the end of the century, economic growth in the US can be linked to direct government intervention. From the mid 1970s to the early 1890s, the federal followed standard government procedure and maintained the national military, conducted foreign policy and collected tariffs and taxes. The national government had little diversions to result in additional responsibilities. The lone exception was the distribution of Civil War pensions to veterans and their widows.
Rather, the economic growth of that time was due largely to industrial expansion and development. Major innovations of the steel industry by Carnegie and electrical energy by Thomas Edison revolutionized American industry. However, the federal government was not entirely inactive and in 1887, passed the Interstate commerce act. This allowed congress to oversee interstate commerce and regulate prices. Around 1890, the national government began to take an even more active role in the US economy and anti monopoly measures, protective tariffs and a billion dollar budget are on the top of the agenda. The Sherman Anti Trust Act of 1890 makes corporate monopolies officially illegal. Although the Sherman Anti Trust proves to be useless, it shows that the federal government was taking a stand in controlling corporate trusts.
The Mckinley Tariff of 1890 was a compromise tariff that included reciprocal trade agreements that allowed the president to retaliate against countries that discriminated US products. The federal government also dealt with the issue of the gold standard through the Sherman Silver Purchase act, the Bland Allison Act and the Gold Standard Act of 1900. Congress deleted the treasury so much that it was faced with the first peacetime billion dollar budget. The economic growth of America during this time period can be linked to many things. The industrial growth of the country boosted the economy considerably. However, this industrial growth would not have benefited the country as much as it did with out the regulation and support it received for mt he federal government. Even though the economic growth has been credited to a laissez faire policy, it was in fact direct government intervention that encouraged and developed the US economy.
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