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Science, Restraint, and J. Edgar Hoover: Building and Maintaining the FBI Brand, 1933 to 1972
Unformatted Document Text:  Cecil,  Tiernan,  Koroglu  —  Science,  Restraint,  and  J.  Edgar  Hoover    —   10   against the wishes of Congress, which had rejected an earlier effort to create an investigative agency in the Justice Department citing fears of federalized police power. xxvii Controversy over the potential for what opponents labeled an American secret police or (later) Gestapo dogged the FBI throughout the Hoover era. Hoover served as Director of the FBI and its precursors from 1924 until his death in 1972. The first decade of his tenure was devoted to structural reforms within the Bureau, which was then a little-known agency with very few employees. From 1924 to 1934, Bureau agents were not authorized to carry weapons or make arrests. They were limited to enforcement of a handful of tax and white slavery laws. xxviii Hoover spent those relatively quiet years tuning the agency’s bureaucratic structure and steering clear of the corruption temptations of prohibition enforcement. xxix As late as 1934, when Hoover had been director of what was then the Division of Investigation (renamed as the FBI in 1935) for ten years, the agency’s work remained relatively unknown. Six years later, however, following the passage of the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1934 that elevated Bureau agents to full law enforcement status, Hoover and his special agents, christened “G-Men” by George “Machine Gun” Kelly in 1935, were cultural icons. xxx By 1940, Hoover’s agency was the undisputed success story of the New Deal-era war on crime. xxxi And in 1941, the FBI brand was formalized with adoption of the FBI seal that include the agency’s motto, “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal changed the nation’s relationship with its government, centralizing economic authority within the federal government. At the same time, the New Deal centralized federal law enforcement. xxxii By 1936, Hoover and his FBI had become “reassuring symbol[s] of security and stability for most

Authors: Cecil, Matthew., Tiernan, Jennifer. and Koroglu, Didem.
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Cecil,  Tiernan,  Koroglu  —  Science,  Restraint,  and  J.  Edgar  Hoover    —   10  
against the wishes of Congress, which had rejected an earlier effort to create an 
investigative agency in the Justice Department citing fears of federalized police power.
xxvii
 
Controversy over the potential for what opponents labeled an American secret police or 
(later) Gestapo dogged the FBI throughout the Hoover era.  
Hoover served as Director of the FBI and its precursors from 1924 until his death in 
1972. The first decade of his tenure was devoted to structural reforms within the Bureau, 
which was then a little-known agency with very few employees. From 1924 to 1934, 
Bureau agents were not authorized to carry weapons or make arrests. They were limited 
to enforcement of a handful of tax and white slavery laws.
xxviii
 Hoover spent those 
relatively quiet years tuning the agency’s bureaucratic structure and steering clear of the 
corruption temptations of prohibition enforcement.
xxix
  
As late as 1934, when Hoover had been director of what was then the Division of 
Investigation (renamed as the FBI in 1935) for ten years, the agency’s work remained 
relatively unknown. Six years later, however, following the passage of the Omnibus Crime 
Control Act of 1934 that elevated Bureau agents to full law enforcement status, Hoover 
and his special agents, christened “G-Men” by George “Machine Gun” Kelly in 1935, were 
cultural icons.
xxx
  By 1940, Hoover’s agency was the undisputed success story of the New 
Deal-era war on crime.
xxxi
 And in 1941, the FBI brand was formalized with adoption of 
the FBI seal that include the agency’s motto, “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity.” 
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal changed the nation’s relationship 
with its government, centralizing economic authority within the federal government. At 
the same time, the New Deal centralized federal law enforcement.
xxxii
 By 1936, Hoover 
and his FBI had become “reassuring symbol[s] of security and stability for most 


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