Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1318398
 


 



Why the Brownlow Committee Failed: Neutrality and Partisanship in the Early Years of Public Administration


Alasdair S. Roberts


Suffolk University Law School

July 19, 1994

Administration and Society, 28.1 (May 1996), pp. 3-38.

Abstract:     
In 1938, Congress rejected a package of administrative reforms that had been developed by a committee of academics headed by Louis Brownlow. The defeat was the worst that President Roosevelt would suffer in three terms as President. This article suggests that the Brownlow Committee contributed to the debacle in Congress by ignoring evidence that its recommendations would prove contentious. It is argued that the committee members were caught in a dilemma: On the one hand, they wanted to obtain immediate reforms for a president to whom they felt a personal loyalty; on the other, they needed to maintain a demonstration of neutrality, which made it difficult to undertake the tasks of political management that were essential to craft a viable reform program. The demonstration of neutrality was a combination of arguments and routines that the academic community had invented to allay public skepticism about its members' trustworthiness as advisers on contentious issues.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 55

Keywords: public administration, Roosevelt, reorganization, expertise, rhetoric, New Deal

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Date posted: December 21, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Alasdair S., Why the Brownlow Committee Failed: Neutrality and Partisanship in the Early Years of Public Administration (July 19, 1994). Administration and Society, 28.1 (May 1996), pp. 3-38.. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1318398

Contact Information

Alasdair S. Roberts (Contact Author)
Suffolk University Law School ( email )
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.aroberts.us

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