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It was a Republican president, though, who presided over the first 20th Century major attacks on states' rights: Theodore Roosevelt. "Old Rough and Ready" believed that the federal government should lead the assault on social adjustments in all spheres of life. A New York reformist, Teddy Roosevelt's forceful personality powered the first nationwide social welfare programs in the United States - at the expense of states' rights.

Still, it was not until the devastating crisis of the Great Depression that the states' power over their own futures went into a political tailspin. It is difficult to say which was the major cause, the event itself or President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat. Certainly it was not FDR's predecessor, Republican Herbert Hoover. A man of great personal integrity and compassion, whose post-presidential career was a paragon of public service selflessness, President Hoover was ideologically unprepared to combat the slide into the Depression that began during his term of office with the Wall Street "Crash of '29." In a reversal indicative of the change in conservative thinking since Teddy Roosevelt's presidency two decades earlier, Hoover was a laissez-faire economist in his administrative thi


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Federalism. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:17, October 22, 2014, from
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