TitleThe storm before the calm
NameMcQueeney, Kevin George (author), Tillery, Al (chair), Baker, Ross (internal member), Lau, Rick (internal member), Junn, Jane (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Emergency management--Government policy --United States--History,
DescriptionThis paper examines federal disaster policy from America’s colonial past through the present. It shows how this policy evolved from limited, selective intervention to a comprehensive disaster policy. It addresses several important questions: what has been the federal government’s role in dealing with natural disasters and how has this changed over time? Second, why was the federal government, despite a limited role in many areas, involved in disasters (albeit in a limited capacity) from an early time period? Similarly, why has the government continued to have a major role in this area while other areas of the welfare state have been attacked and reduced? I answer these questions by using an American Political Development approach to examine the historical changes in federal disaster policy and the factors that led to these changes. I use a contextual approach, moving beyond one factor and instead examining multiple factors, to understand the complete context of disaster policy in different time periods and to identify the main factors that led to the expansion of the federal government’s role in dealing with natural disasters. I argue that in order to understand why federal disaster policy was the way that it was during a particular time period, one must understand the context of the situation. I identify several key factors in the evolution of disaster policy. The expansion of the U.S. in both population and territory, especially into more disaster-prone areas, led to more frequent, costly, and deadly disasters. Traditional areas of response-family, neighbors, churches-were no longer able to adequately respond. Instead, people began looking towards the federal government. This was facilitated by both a growth in the resources and capabilities of the federal government, as well as a shift away from a strictly limited view in government. The result has been a major change in disaster policy, one in which the federal government now assumes the responsibility of preventing and responding to natural disasters throughout the country, and spends billions of dollars every year in the process.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Kevin George McQueeney
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.