The brownlow-brookings feud: The politics of dissent within the academic community

In January, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt submitted an ambitious plan for administrative reform of the national government to Congress. The Brownlow recommendations produced intense debate in Congress. However, some of the most important skirmishes in this battle were not fought in public, and even after half a century remain largely obscured from public view. One such skirmish was the contest within the academic community about the recommendations on administrative reform that were to be put before Congress. This paper considers why all three parties to this fight -- the Brownlow Committee, the Brookings Institution, and the Rockefeller Foundation -- went to such lengths to avoid public disagreement about the Brownlow recommendations. A public disagreement threatened to undermine the academic community's demonstration of neutrality, and thus to undermine the stability of the Public Administration community itself.
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