The Department of Commerce is one of many cabinet-level departments under the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the government. The history of the Department of Commerce reflects many of the social changes and technological innovations that occurred throughout the decades of its existence.
According to the Department of Commerce website, its mission is "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce" of the United States.
Early History of the Department of Commerce
The U.S. Department of Commerce begins in 1903, when it was created by Congress. George B. Cortelyou was the first Secretary of Commerce and Labor, however William C. Redfield was appointed the first Secretary of Commerce once the labor department was separated from the Department of Commerce in 1913. The current Secretary of Commerce is Gary Locke.
As history has progressed, the responsibilities of the Department of Commerce have shifted considerably. In 1913, the Department of Labor was created, and all aspects of labor were removed from the Department of Commerce.
In 1925, the Bureau of Mines was transferred to control of the Department of Commerce. In 1926, with the use of airplanes rapidly expanding, the Bureau of Aeronautics was created in the department, and in 1927, when radio use was also experiencing rapid growth, the Federal Radio Commission was created within the Department of Commerce. In 1932, however, the Federal Radio Commission was granted autonomy.
Department of Commerce in Wartime
In 1939 and 1940, various reorganizations of the government took place that directly affected the Department of Commerce. The Bureau of Lighthouses was removed from its jurisdiction, but the Inland Waterways Corporation was integrated into the Department of Commerce. The weather bureau and civil aeronautics were also transferred to control of the Department of Commerce.
In 1949 a large expansion of the Department of Commerce took place when the Public Roads Administration was added to it and the Office of Transportation Council was established within the department. This was expanded further in 1956 when the federal highway system was expanded.
Department of Commerce to the Present Day
The 1960s saw another large expansion of the Department of Commerce with the creation and addition of the Economic Development Administration, the Environmental Science Services Administration, the Office of State Technical Services, the Community Relations Service, the Department of Transportation, the Office of Minority Business, the Office of Telecommunications and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
The International Trade Administration and the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration were added in 1980 and 1981 respectively.
Today, the Department of Commerce contains the following major groups:
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- International Trade Administration
- Import Administration
- Bureau of Industry and Security
- Export Administration
- Economic Development Administration
- Minority Business Development Agency
- National Telecommunications and Information Administration
- Economics and Statistics Administration
- Bureau of the Census
- National Institute of Standards and Technology
- National Technical Information Service
- U.S. Trademark and Patent Office
For fiscal year 2010, the Department of Commerce will employ more than 141,000 people and have an annual budget of over $13 billion.This article was purchased from a network of freelancers for use on BloggingStocks.