Presidents -- Political activity, Administrative agencies -- United States, Community development -- Political aspects, Economic development -- Social aspects, Economic Opportunity Act, and United States -- Political aspects
The Community Action Program (CAP) was one of the highest-profile but least successful of President Johnson's Great Society programs. Pluralist and neo-Marxist theories hold that the origins of CAP and the problems that the program encountered were rooted in the politics of interest group and racial conflict, respectively. Drawing on archival evidence, this article turns attention to the important, yet forgotten, administrative dimension of CAP. The decentralized features of CA P were developed as a strategy to manage the federal bureaucracy and avoid conflict with Congress. Ultimately, CAP floundered as the decentralized control of the program freed it from the political control of the White House. The article concludes with a discussion of the problems presidents face in managing the federal bureaucracy and how the development of CAP reflects Johnson's management style in enacting domestic policy goals.