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Departmental Reorganization Act (Overman Act), May 20, 1918

The United States’ entry into World War I in 1917 demanded mobilization of national resources on an unprecedented scale. To better manage the war effort, Congress passed the Departmental Reorganization Act, also called the Overman Act after its sponsor, Senator Lee S. Overman of North Carolina. It expanded President Woodrow Wilson’s power over federal institutions for the duration of the war and six months following. Under this act, Wilson established three new agencies: the National War Labor Board, the War Industries Board, and the Committee on Public Information. The labor and industries boards improved workers’ conditions and boosted U.S. productivity.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Departmental Reorganization Act (Overman Act), May 20, 1918

Legislative Highlights

The U.S. Constitution states that “The Congress shall have Power…To make all Laws.” The original laws enacted by Congress are preserved at the National Archives. This page highlights some of the most historically significant laws Congress has passed throughout the nation’s history.