Utilitarian justifications that had flourished under conditions of combat and conscription persisted, and principles of consent and voluntary participation were often disregarded. This was, to borrow a phrase from American political history, the Gilded Age of research, the triumph of laissez faire in the laboratory. The thrust of public policy was not to check the discretion of the experimenter but to free up the resources that would expand the opportunity for research. The driving force in post-World War II research, including intellectual direction and financial support, was provided by the National Institutes of Health. When the Committee on Medical Research, along with the other wartime organizations, was about to be phased out, many scientists and political leaders found the prospect of the federal government abdicating its research role simply unthinkable. The Clinical Center set neither formal requirements to protect human subjects nor standards for its investigators to follow in making certain that subjects were well informed about the research protocols.