<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The most ambitious pre-Civil-War attempt to institute a national science policy was spelled out in John Quincy Adams’s 1826 message to Congress. Ibid., 39-43 Adams asserted that the rapid development of the United States required some measure of federal authority over such tangible internal improvements as roads and canals, and that government had a duty towards knowledge as “among the first, if not the first, instrument for the improvement of the condition of man.” He called for the establishment of a national university and a national observatory, and for voyages of discovery. His congressional allies proposed a Constitutional amendment giving Congress authority to “make surveys . . . to construct roads . . . to establish a National University . . . and to offer and distribute prizes for promoting agriculture, education, science and the liberal and useful arts.” Ibid., 41-41 But the amendment failed, as did virtually all of Adams’s other proposals. Subsequently, as a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts, he helped shape the contours of the Smithsonian Institution.

This bequest of James Smithson to the United States to establish a scientific institution was at first opposed in Congress on the by-then-familiar internal improvements grounds. Adams, however, managed to broker an agreement that would make the Smithsonian a research facility, forswearing any ambitions to become a national university. Congress appropriated no funds, simply accepting and providing shape and substance to a private bequest, and stipulated that a political, non-scientific Board of Regents would oversee the Smithsonian’s scientific work. The first secretaries of the Smithsonian (in particular the very first, Joseph Henry, who had been a distinguished professor of physics at Princeton University), drawn from outside government and not beholden to Congress for resources, enjoyed a degree of autonomy comparable to that of the heads of non-governmental institutions, even though they were federal employees and remained legally accountable to the president and the congress.

Prior to World War II, a strict reading of the Tenth Amendment (granting to states all authority not explicitly conferred on the federal government) held sway in congress, thus denying the federal government any authority over education at any level. One result was a resolute hands-off federal policy regarding non-governmental scientific institutions. Even after the war, when the federal government began providing research grants to university faculty, it devised a system whereby funds were provided not for universities but for specific scientific projects to be conducted by specific faculty members.

Congressional reluctance notwithstanding, the geographical expansion, industrialization, and urbanization of the United States during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries highlighted the importance of science to the federal government in discharging its growing responsibilities and promoting the public good. There was a steady expansion of the government’s scientific bureaus and capabilities, and increasing awareness that government could benefit from the growing capabilities of American science. By 1938, proponents could argue openly in Relation of the Federal Government to Research that the federal government should:

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, A history of federal science policy from the new deal to the present. OpenStax CNX. Jun 26, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11210/1.2
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'A history of federal science policy from the new deal to the present' conversation and receive update notifications?