How Our Government Built America, and Why It Must Rebuild Now
He begins with the Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson in 1805, which doubled the size of the country, and the construction of the Erie Canal in 1817-1825, which opened a water route to the West. The chartering of the Trans-Continental railroad, the Land Grant Colleges, and the Homestead Act in 1863, led by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, together opened the continent. The Panama Canal, which joined the east and West coasts by sea, was driven by Theodore Roosevelt. FDR’s Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway program modernized America, and the GI Bill of rights, which came after World War II, remains the greatest investment in intellectual capital and housing in our history.
Rohatyn describes these enterprises as examples of the imagination and decisive leadership that the country is in desperate need of, and, in a final chapter, he predicts the multiple benefits of similarly bold undertakings to secure our nation’s future and offers a blueprint for setting priorities and financing them.