The Laws That Shaped America: Fifteen Acts of Congress and Their Lasting Impactby Dennis W. Johnson
For better and sometimes for worse, Congress is a reflection of the aspirations, wants, and priorities of the American people. It reflects the kaleidoscope of special interests and unselfish service to others, of favors sought and sacrifices made. During each two-year session of Congress, thousands of pieces of legislation are proposed, many hundreds are given… See more details below
For better and sometimes for worse, Congress is a reflection of the aspirations, wants, and priorities of the American people. It reflects the kaleidoscope of special interests and unselfish service to others, of favors sought and sacrifices made. During each two-year session of Congress, thousands of pieces of legislation are proposed, many hundreds are given serious consideration, but far fewer are eventually enacted into law. Most enactments have limited impact, affect few, and are quietly forgotten in the flow of legislative activity. However, a small number of laws have risen to the level of historical consequence. These are the laws that have shaped America, and they are the subject of this book.
Which pieces of legislation were the most significant for the development of the nation? Which have had an immediate or lasting impact on our society? Which laws so affected us that we could not imagine how our lives would be without them? Dennis W. Johnson vividly portrays the story of fifteen major laws enacted over the course of two centuries of American democracy. For each law, he examines the forces and circumstances that led to its enactmentthe power struggles between rival interests, the competition between lawmakers and the administration, the compromises and principled stands, and the impact of the legislation and its place in American history.
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Table of Contents
1. Westward ExpansionThe Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the Louisiana Purchase Ratification of 1803 2. Slavery and the TerritoriesKansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 3. The Promise of LandThe Homestead Act of 1862 and the Morrill Act of 1862 4. Women Gain the Right to VoteThe Nineteenth Amendment of 1919 5. Protecting the Working FamilyThe National Labor Relations Act of 1935 6. The Grand ContractThe Social Security Act of 1935 7. The Promise to America’s VeteransThe G. I. Bill of 1944 8. The Recovery of Western EuropeThe Marshall Plan of 1948 9. Ribbons of HighwayThe Interstate Highway Act of 1956 10. Assuring Equality, Guaranteeing DemocracyThe Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 11. The Lifeline to the Elderly and PoorThe Medicare and Medicaid Act of 1965 12. Protecting the EnvironmentThe National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 13. The Laws That Shaped America Appendix: Other Major Legislation
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