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29 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 199 (1960-1961)
Wagner Act: Its Origin and Current Significance

handle is hein.journals/gwlr29 and id is 209 raw text is: THE WAGNER ACT: ITS ORIGIN AND
Leon H. Keyserling*
My first impulse in this article was to offer a detailed legislative
history of the Wagner Act, spiced by some truthful gossip about the
play of personalities in the great struggle for its enactment. But this
would be largely redundant, because the essential legislative story
has been told excellently by others.' More important, the origin and
early years of the act point some lessons which have not yet been
stressed sufficiently and seem to me immensely significant today in
view of the looming domestic and international problems now con-
fronting the Nation and people of the United States.
The lessons relate to the role of individual leadership in a democ-
racy; the distribution of responsibility and opportunity between the
President and the Congress; the admixture of responsible free enter-
prise and responsible free government under today's impact of new
problems calling for new solutions; the place of the labor movement
in our current and prospective economic and social setting; and the
economic requirements for sustained and high economic growth in
order to extirpate private poverty in the United States, lift general
living standards, erase the glaring deficiencies in our essential public
services, carry a heavy defense burden, and make a fair contribution
to underdeveloped peoples elsewhere in the cause of human advance-
ment and permanent world peace.
The accidents which shape the lives of most individuals placed me
in an unusually fortunate position to observe and to think about the
longer-range significance of the events revolving around the Wagner
Act during its conception and thereafter until the advent of World
*A.B., 1928, Columbia; LL.B., 1931, Harvard. Legislative Assistant to Senator
Robert F. Wagner, 1933-37. Housing Official, 1937-46. Vice Chairman, 1946-50, and
Chairman, 1950-53, President's Council of Economic Advisers. Consulting economist
and attorney; President, Conference on Economic Progress.
1 Bernstein, The New Deal Collective Bargaining Policy (1950); Rosenfarb, The
National Labor Policy and How It Works (1940).
[ 199]

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