• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Department of the Interior (U.S.)

In 1789, the u.s. congress established three executive departments: Foreign Affairs (later called the State Department), the Treasury, and Department of War, and with them, created the positions of attorney general and postmaster general. Although these three departments were created to accommodate and maintain complicated interior and external affairs, they had to administer most domestic matters as well. The proposal for a department of internal affairs continued for a half-century, supported by many presidents, including Madison and Polk. The Mexican-American War of 1846–48 gave the proposal new support as the responsibilities of the federal government increased. President Polk's treasury secretary, Robert J. Walker, became one of the most vocal advocates for such a department. This idea of forming a separate department to handle domestic issues ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles