Periods of single-party rule in the US — Positive or negative impact?

Jul 2014
8
Hoschton, GA, United States
I have a question for historians: Is there a general agreement on whether the periods of single-party dominance in American history had a positive or negative effect on the country? For the sake of clarity, let's define "single party dominance" as a political party having control of the White House, as well as controlling at least two-thirds of the seats in both chambers of Congress. Effectively, said party could pass any legislation unopposed by another party's filibuster (or any other supermajority requirements), as well as without fear of a presidential veto.

According to my research, this has occurred a total of five times over the course of American history:

From 1803 to 1813 under the Democratic-Republicans (Jefferson/Madison)
From 1817 to 1825 under the Democratic-Republicans (Monroe)
From 1865 to 1871 under the Republicans (Lincoln/Andrew Johnson/Grant)
From 1935 to 1939 under the Democrats (Franklin Roosevelt)
From 1965 to 1967 under the Democrats (Lyndon Johnson)

What legislation was expedited by these circumstances, and was the overall effect of this lack of opposition positive or negative for the country in each case?
 
Sep 2014
1,234
Queens, NYC
Certainly bad in 1965-67: Medicare, expanded welfare, bad reaction to riots.

Arguably bad 1933-52: prolonged Depression, increased government controls and expenditures to no good result.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,856
At present SD, USA
Certainly bad in 1965-67: Medicare, expanded welfare, bad reaction to riots.
While the reactions to the riots weren't good, creating medicare and expanding welfare aren't bad, unless you think having the poor die en masse from treatable diseases because they can not afford the medicine or treatment.

Arguably bad 1933-52: prolonged Depression, increased government controls and expenditures to no good result.
The New Deal did not prolong the Depression. Deregulation and the decreased government controls was the CAUSE of the Great Depression. And that action created such a crash that the hole was such that it isn't likely that "doing nothing" was going to reverse the situation.

The only people who have made that argument are economists who have been connected with the formation of Reaganomics and have thus had a political interest in attacking the policies of the new deal.

They ignore that the lowest part of the Depression was in the beginning and that things began to get better once the New Deal began. Jobs were created and things did improve. Instant wealth may not have come about because of it, but wealth is not recovery. America does not have than many wealthy people for "wealth" to be an accurate measurement of recovery.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,856
At present SD, USA
What legislation was expedited by these circumstances, and was the overall effect of this lack of opposition positive or negative for the country in each case?
The good or bad of the legislation is really more up to one's point of view. For all points of legislation can have good or bad consequences and good or bad views. Some may see the actions of one period to be good as a whole and lump them altogether, while others may see the same actions as bad and thus lump them altogether the other way.

MJuingong has already demonstrated a Conservative American's point of view on the New Deal and the Great Society... while ignoring key points in the policies. Were it not for the New Deal, most farming in America would be done in a manner that degrades the soil and leaves it prone to erosion, thus making it possible for massive dust storms in times of drought. Without the New Deal, nearly all of America's farmers would have gone bankrupt before the 30s ended because the cost of their goods was so low that even if they sold everything, they wouldn't make enough money to pay off their loans. Without the New Deal, vast areas of the country would probably still be without basic electrical power because the cost of getting the poles and wiring to those places would be too much for private companies to consider profitable. Without the Great Society and particularly the 1964 Civil Rights Act, segregation would remain legal...

We could go on forever on the pros and cons of the policies of every era in American history, and you will find that opinions will generally differ based on one's point of view.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,514
Caribbean
I don't think the idea "single party" rule applies much to the US. In the early days, there weren't two theories of government and the firewalls of confederation held. In his inaugural address Quincy Adams praised the absence of parties. After the Civil War, this was time of military occupation. And in the New Deal, legislation was passing by voice vote because there was no significant objection by Republicans, or votes were as lopsided as 384-3.
 
Sep 2014
1,234
Queens, NYC
Sam-Nary:

Deregulation and the decreased government controls was the CAUSE of the Great Depression.
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Fairy tale.
Name one government control removed before 1929 that would have avoided the Depression.

Sam-Nary:

Were it not for the New Deal, most farming in America would be done in a manner that degrades the soil and leaves it prone to erosion, thus making it possible for massive dust storms in times of drought. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How did the New Deal change farming techniques?

Sam-Nary:
Without the Great Society and particularly the 1964 Civil Rights Act, segregation would remain legal...
_____________________________________________________
Hogwash. The Civil Rights act could have been passed in the late 1950s or early 1960s had Lyndon Johnson not hindered the passage.
The Great Society's welfare expansion has nothing to do with ending segregation.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,856
At present SD, USA
Fairy tale.
Name one government control removed before 1929 that would have avoided the Depression..
I don't think it was a government control that was lost... but more one that had never existed before with regard to the predatory loans and investments on Wall Street, especially with regard to how banks handled money. No law said at that time the banks couldn't do that, so to earn a profit... they did. When the stock market crashed, the investments the banks had made became worthless and when people tried to get their money back... many had lost everything because of the bank's decisions to make a profit. The laws that were part of the New Deal to regulate the banks and their investments were needed to both save the banks that hadn't gone under and prevent greed allow for such short cuts.

How did the New Deal change farming techniques?
In the buildup to the Dust Bowl era in the late 20s to early 30s, farmers in the Midwest and Great Plains had all plowed their fields the same way and did their best to remove anything that might compete with their crops, including native grasses and so on. When the drought hit, and the crops didn't grow, there was nothing to hold the soil and the winds that sweep across the Great Plains it up in large numbers.

During the era of the New Deal, experts, who had done research on soil erosion were dispatched to give advice to farmers with regard to ways to preserve their top soil. The end of the drought might have played a role in the physical stop of the Dust Bowl... but without the advice given, and accepted, any extensive drought in the region, which goes in fairly natural cycles, would have meant a return to Dust Bowl conditions.

There is also the first "Farm Bill" legislation that changed how farmers operated that was greatly to their benefit. Largely by being paid to let land not be planted and lower the production, which served to raise the price of the crops, which had crashed to extremely low levels in the 20s after WWI, and thus saved the jobs of American farmers as they were able to earn money on what they sold and keep their homes, farms and businesses.

Hogwash. The Civil Rights act could have been passed in the late 1950s or early 1960s had Lyndon Johnson not hindered the passage.
The Great Society's welfare expansion has nothing to do with ending segregation.
While LBJ had blocked the 1957 Act as best he could, that was more due to trying to keep the Democratic Party united between is Conservative Southern Wing and its Liberal Northern Wing. It was not due any stated opinion he had on the issue specifically.

As per his record on the 1960 Civil Rights Act: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/86-1960/s284 - LBJ voted "Yea"

And after the 1960 Civil Rights Act was passed, the next time the issue came up, he was VP and effectively powerless. JFK tried to get a bill through earlier, but it largely failed to make real progress. Yet after JFK's assassination and LBJ became President, pushing JFK's Civil Rights bill became a key part of the agenda and LBJ knew how to combat the means by which the 1964 Bill could have been blocked, and without his efforts in support of the 1964 bill, it wouldn't have passed... at least not in the form we know it today.

And its passage does count as Great Society legislation.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
8,008
Cornwall
The answer to this question wholly depends on whether such a government was highly successful or presided over an increasing shambles.
 

jackydee

Ad Honorem
Jan 2013
4,569
Brigadoon
The answer to this question wholly depends on whether such a government was highly successful or presided over an increasing shambles.
This. Also, the future results of such policies. If America can continue to afford such things as Medicare, Medicaid etc then the period of their enactment can be viewed as positive. If US finances goes tits-up in future then the policies will have been something of a disaster.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,514
Caribbean
Deregulation and the decreased government controls was the CAUSE of the Great Depression.
First, is there a difference between deregulation and decreased government control is?
Second, have you ever considered the business cycle as a cause of depressions?
Third, if I were looking for a specific man-made cause, I'd start by finding out who the biggest short-sellers were the day before the crash.