Federal Government Size and Policy Changes

FederalGovernment Size and Policy Changes

Theexpansion of the United States in social, economic and politicaldimensions impacted on the influence the federal government commandson the local governance and international position. Since 1861, thecountry has changed her domestic and foreign policy to align with thechanges in the political and economic environment, as the countryexpanded its scope of influence. The domestic and foreign policy ofthe United States has been shaped over time by a number of factors.Among the factors include the increase in size, the expansion of itsscope and the extent of the country’s influence. The discussionwill explore the influence of these factors on the changes in localand foreign policy of the United States.

Theexpansion in size of the American borders led to the increase in thesize of the federal government of the United States. As a result, theeconomic demands of the country have increased, and have stretchedthe budget larger. Therefore, the United States government hascontinually been faced by larger budgets. As a result, the domesticpolicy on taxation was changed to increase the tax base and revenuesto run the large government. For instance, the federal governmentpassed the TaxReform Act of 1969 to increase tax revenues (Stelzner69).This change in the domestic tax and revenue policies illustrates theeffect of a larger government whose mission was to increase itsinfluence and expand its scope.

Theincrease in the size of the United States federal government led tothe development of a larger responsibility to guard the states underthe federalism. The expansion of the government to include the statesseveral states meant a bigger responsibility to keep them within theunion, and protect them from external aggression. For example, theadmission of Arizona in 1912 opened a bigger responsibility toprotect the state from external aggression. This was the main reasonthat made the United States to change its neutralist foreign policyduring the First World War, and join the war (Keene17).This was after Germany threatened to attack the United States throughMexico, and hand over Arizona and other southern states to Mexico asa reward.

Expansionof the influence of the United States federal government due to thegrowth in size also influences the relationship between the countryand other nations. One notable influence is the role that the UnitedStates has played in the international peace bodies and institutions.To protect the country and foster peace, the country was instrumentalin the formation of the League of Nations after the World War 1 andthe establishment of the United Nations organization after the WorldWar 2 (Keene74).This was as a result of the country’s involvement in the two worldconflicts as part of its obligation to protect the vast federalgovernment. Since the states cannot make political decisions andnegotiations on their own, the federal government engaged in foreignpolicy to protect the country.

Thelarge federal government commanded more influence in the globalarena, which translates to the need to change its foreign policies.As the country matched towards superpower status, trading was aneconomic practice that the country had to secure with othercountries. Therefore, the federal government of the United Statesnegotiated foreign economic agreements as United State and not asstates. Therefore, both the domestic policy and the foreign policy inrelation to trade between individual states with the internationalcommunity had to change. The states have lost more freedom tonegotiate trade with other countries to the federal government. Thisway, the federal government maintains the economy of the unitedstates as a single unit in the international arena. At the same time,interstate commerce was promoted by the law and guided by theInterstate Commerce Act (Stelzner49-50).

Thelarge scope of influence of the United States federal government ledto the changes in domestic policy to manage the expanding economy.Therefore, major economic decisions are left to the federalgovernment. These include fiscal and monetary policies that affectthe economic opportunities in the United States. The federalgovernment has changed its policy in terms of monetary policy so asto create an economic environment that favors economic growth of thewhole federal economy other than individual states (Carbaugh477).For instance, to cover the expansive country, the federal governmentwill increase its expenditure in order to provide public goods(Carbaugh496).Government expenditure promotes the expansionary plans by thegovernment, leading to increased money supply.

Theexpansion of the size and scope of the United States due to theincrease in the size of the federal government attracts changes inforeign and domestic policies. The domestic economic policies arechanged to facilitate the structures of raising government revenue,promoting trade and spending government resources across the memberstates. Political policies are changed with the aim of maintaining aunited federal government and prevent any cessation that had causedthe civil war in American history. As a result of the largegovernment, the responsibility of protecting the country fromexternal aggression increased. Therefore, foreign policy changes wereinevitable to secure the country from threats of war and armedattacks from foreign aggressors.


Carbaugh,Robert. InternationalEconomics. Boston,MA: Cengage Learning, 2012, Print

Keene,Jenifer. TheUnited States and the First World War. NewYork: Routledge, 2014, Print

Stelzner,Mark. EconomicInequality and Policy Control in the United States.London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, Print