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Franklin Roosevelt in a wheelchair with a little girl

Franklin Roosevelt

The United States government got even more power during the 1900s. In 1913, the United States government got the right to collect income tax. With this new tax, the United States government got a lot more money, and it used that money to get more power over the states. During the Depression, in the 1930s, for instance, President Roosevelt started to give welfare payments to people who couldn’t find jobs, and he started the Social Security program to give payments to everyone who was old, so that old, sick people would not go hungry.
President Roosevelt also used income tax money to fight World War II, which was very expensive.

Lyndon Johnson: a middle-aged white man

Lyndon Johnson

After the war, presidents continued to spend the income tax money both on welfare and Social Security and on bigger and bigger weapons. By the 1960s, President Johnson and others extended this Progressive view to protect the rights, first of black men (the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965), and then of women (for instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972), and people with physical challenges (the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990).

Barack Obama: a black man in a suit

Barack Obama

With Barack Obama’s passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010), the government tried to make sure that all sick people can afford to go see a doctor. Obama was also the first black president of the United States.

How have people in your family benefited from these new laws?
More about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bibliography and further reading about American government:


The Constitution
The Inuit
The Sioux
The Civil War
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