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Chapter 10: The Federal Bureaucracy
Chapter Focus
Section 1 Bureaucratic Organization
Section 2 The Civil Service System
Section 3 The Bureaucracy at Work
Chapter Assessment
Chapter Objectives
Bureaucratic Organization Describe the
functions of the cabinet, independent
government agencies, and regulatory
The Civil Service System Evaluate the
effectiveness of the civil service system.
The Bureaucracy at Work Summarize
the advantages and disadvantages of the
federal bureaucracy.
Bureaucratic Organization
Key Terms
bureaucrat, embassy, government corporation,
deregulate, procurement
Find Out
• What is the general organizational structure of
the 15 cabinet level departments?
• How are independent government agencies
different from regulatory commissions?
Bureaucratic Organization
Understanding Concepts
Public Policy How does government bureaucracy
serve the executive branch in carrying out the will
of the people’s representatives?
Section Objective
Describe the functions of the cabinet, independent
government agencies, and regulatory commissions.
The first female Secretary of State,
Madeleine Albright, speaks English,
French, Czech, Russian, and Polish. Her
language skills helped her perform well in
her previous job as the United States
representative to the United Nations,
where many different languages are
involved in conducting international affairs.
I. The Cabinet Departments (pages 276–279)
A. The Founders anticipated the need for federal
agencies to carry on the daily business of
government; currently nearly 3 million civilians
work in the federal government.
B. These departments are headed by
secretaries and staffed with assistant
secretaries, deputy secretaries, and
directors of major unitsC.
C. These 15 executive departments,
headed by cabinet-rank officers, are
a major part of the federal bureaucracy.
I. The Cabinet Departments (pages 276–279)
I. The Cabinet Departments (pages 276–279)
D. Two of the four departments created by
Congress in 1789 are still among the
most important: the Departments of State
and of the Treasury.
E. The other 13 departments are the
Departments of the Interior, Agriculture,
Justice, Commerce, Labor, Defense, Health
and Human Services, Homeland Security,
Housing and Urban Development,
Transportation, Energy, Education, and
Veterans Affairs.
I. The Cabinet Departments (pages 276–279)
I. The Cabinet Departments (pages 276–279)
Which cabinet office performs the most
essential service? Explain.
Answers will vary. Students should describe
the service they believe is most essential.
II. Independent Agencies (pages 279–280)
A. The federal bureaucracy includes over 100
independent organizations whose heads are
appointed by the president.
B. The services of several independent
agencies, such as the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, are widely
publicized and are as large and well known
as cabinet departments.
II. Independent Agencies (pages 279–280)
C. Some agencies such as the Central
Intelligence Agency and the General
Services Administration provide services
directly for the executive branch.
D. Government corporations are independent
agencies that directly serve the public, such
as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
and the United States Postal Service.
II. Independent Agencies (pages 279–280)
How do government corporations differ
from private corporations?
Government corporations may be given
monopolistic powers by Congress, and they
are funded by public money.
III. Regulatory Commissions: (pages 281–283)
A. are independent of all three branches of
B. make rules for businesses and industries
that affect the public interest;
C. are often under intense pressures from the
groups they regulate and their lobbyists;
D. have become more limited in their powers
because critics have complained that they
overregulate the economy;
E. were the subject of regulatory reform by the
Republican Congress in the mid-1990s.
III. Regulatory Commissions: (pages 281–283)
III. Regulatory Commissions: (pages 281–283)
Do you support or oppose the federal
government’s move toward deregulation
of industries and businesses? Explain.
Answers will vary. Students should provide
logical reasons for their opinions.
Checking for Understanding
1. Main Idea Using a Venn diagram like the one
below, analyze how regulatory commissions
and independent agencies are alike and how
they are different.
Regulatory commissions: make rules for
businesses; do not report to the president.
Independent commissions: serve the
government or the public.
Both: part of the bureaucracy.
Checking for Understanding
Match the term with the correct definition.
B bureaucrat
A embassy
E government
C deregulate
D procurement
A. an ambassador’s official
residence and offices in
a foreign country
B. one who works for a
department or agency of
the federal government
C. to reduce regulations
D. the purchasing of
E. a business that the
federal government runs
Checking for Understanding
3. Identify Department of State, Department of
the Treasury.
The Department of State is responsible for
the overall foreign policy of the United States.
The Department of the Treasury is
responsible for managing monetary resources
of the United States.
Checking for Understanding
4. How are cabinet departments organized?
A secretary heads each department. The
second in command is the deputy or
undersecretary, then assistant secretaries.
Under these top officials are the directors of the
departments’ major units and their assistants.
Critical Thinking
5. Making Inferences Why is it important that
regulatory commissions be free from
political pressures?
It is important that the regulatory commissions
be free from political pressures so that they can
be impartial about policies, subject to fewer
influences, and regulate what they were created
to control.
Public Policy Imagine that you are on a
presidential commission looking into the
establishment of a new executive
department. Decide on an important issue
facing the country today. Think of a new
executive department to deal with this issue.
Present your suggestion, with reasons, as an
oral presentation to the commission.
The Civil Service System
Key Terms
spoils system, civil service system
Find Out
• How did the civil service system attempt to reform
the spoils system?
• What is the difference between a civil servant and
a political appointee?
The Civil Service System
Understanding Concepts
Civic Participation How does the civil service
system provide access to government jobs?
Section Objective
Evaluate the effectiveness of the civil
service system.
During the New Deal, the total federal
government bureaucracy was smaller than
the number of people hired by just one
government agency. From 1935 to 1941,
an average of 2.1 million citizens who
needed jobs were employed by the Works
Progress Administration on various federal
projects. Not until 1978 did the federal
government bureaucracy grow to 2.1
million employees.
I. Civil Service System
(pages 284–285)
A. Only 11 percent of all federal government
employees work in Washington, D.C.
B. Many federal employees work in offices
throughout the United States and the world.
I. Civil Service System
(pages 284–285)
Compare the composition of the federal
workforce today with the workforce in the
private sector.
About 30 percent of federal workers
represent minorities versus 22 percent of the
private sector workforce.
II. Origins (pages 285–286)
A. Government jobs became a spoils system
under President Andrew Jackson.
B. The spoils system led to inefficiency and
corruption in government.
C. Calls for reform started in the 1850s.
D. The assassination of President Garfield
by a disappointed office seeker led to the
Pendleton Act of 1883, establishing the
present civil service system based on
competitive examinations and merit.
E. Assassinated Presidents
1 Successful assassinations
1.1 Abraham Lincoln
1.2 James A. Garfield
1.3 William McKinley
1.4 John F. Kennedy
2 Failed assassination attempts 2.1 Andrew Jackson
2.2 Abraham Lincoln
2.3 Theodore Roosevelt
2.4 Herbert Hoover
2.5 Franklin D. Roosevelt
2.6 Harry S. Truman
2.7 John F. Kennedy
2.8 Richard Nixon
2.9 Gerald Ford
2.10 Jimmy Carter
2.11 Ronald Reagan
2.12 George H. W. Bush
2.13 Bill Clinton
2.14 George W. Bush
2.15 Barack Obama
3 Presidential deaths rumored to be assassinations
3.1 Zachary Taylor
3.2 Warren G. Harding
II. Origins (pages 285–286)
Do you think the spoils system plays a
greater or lesser role in government today
than it did during Andrew Jackson’s
presidency? Explain.
As a percentage of workers: lesser, although
presidents appoint about 2,000 officials today.
III. The Civil Service System Today
(pages 286–288)
A. Applicants for federal jobs are evaluated on
the basis of their experience and training.
B. Government jobs are attractive because
they offer many benefits.
C. Government workers, unlike most private
sector workers, have job security and are
difficult to fire.
D. The Hatch Act of 1939 was intended to
prevent political parties from using federal
workers to aid in election campaigns; in
recent years, critics have argued for and
against this law, with workers now permitted
some involvement in politics.
III. The Civil Service System Today
(pages 286–288)
III. The Civil Service System Today
(pages 286–288)
With which parts of the 1939 Hatch Act do
you agree or disagree? Explain.
Answers will vary. See text pages 287–288 for
discussion of the Hatch Act.
IV. Political Appointees in Government
(pages 288–289)
A. Nearly 10 percent of executive branch
employees are appointed by the
president, including many choice jobs;
this allows the president to place loyal
supporters in key offices.
B. These political appointees are outside civil
service and are first and foremost the
president’s political supporters.
IV. Political Appointees in Government
(pages 288–289)
C. Political appointees are not experts in the
work of their agencies, and when the
president leaves office many of them return
to private sector jobs.
D. Many political appointees hold their positions
for short tenures, making it hard for them to
learn about their jobs. As a result, much of
the real power over daily operations remains
in the hands of career officials.
IV. Political Appointees in Government
(pages 288–289)
Should something be done to avoid the
problem of short tenures for political
appointees? Why or why not?
Answers will vary. See text page 289 for
discussion of short tenures.
Checking for Understanding
1. Main Idea Using a graphic organizer like the
one below, note the advantages and
disadvantages of the spoils system and the civil
service system.
Spoils: advantages—allows victorious politicians to
reward their followers; disadvantages—inefficiency,
corruption, government workers without needed
Civil service: advantages—competitive salaries, paid
vacations, health insurance, early retirement, job
security; disadvantages—difficult to terminate
incompetent and inefficient workers.
Checking for Understanding
2. Define spoils system, civil service system.
The spoils system is the practice of
victorious politicians rewarding their
followers with government jobs.
The civil service system is the practice of
government employment based on competitive
exams and merit.
Checking for Understanding
3. Identify Andrew Jackson, Pendleton Act,
Hatch Act.
Andrew Jackson became president in 1829 and
immediately fired about 1,000 workers, replacing
them with his own political supporters. His
method of appointing federal workers became
known as the spoils system.
The Pendleton Act, passed by Congress in
1883, created the present civil service system.
The Hatch Act limits how involved federal
government employees can become in elections.
Checking for Understanding
4. What two agencies now make up the former
Civil Service Commission?
The Office of Personnel Management and the
Merit System Protection Board now make up
the former Civil Service Commission.
Critical Thinking
5. Synthesizing Information Why do you think
political supporters are so eager to fill the
plum jobs?
They seek the challenge of such jobs, may wish
to be close to the center of power, make key
political decisions, and meet influential people.
Civic Participation Imagine that you want
to obtain employment in a civil service
position. You need to evaluate the
negative and positive aspects of such
employment. Make a list of the pros and
cons of a career in the civil service.
Discuss your list with your classmates.
The Bureaucracy at Work
Key Terms
client group, liaison officer, injunction, iron triangle
Find Out
• What are the advantages and disadvantages
of bureaucrats taking a greater role in
policy making?
• Why do you think people sometimes get
frustrated with government bureaucracy?
The Bureaucracy at Work
Understanding Concepts
Separation of Powers What role does the
government bureaucracy play in setting policy?
Section Objective
Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of
the federal bureaucracy.
The General Services Administration has
always furnished office space, products, and
services to other federal agencies. The new,
cutting-edge GSA has developed a service
mentality, despite its stodgy reputation. For
instance, it passes on great deals, such as
four cents a minute for long-distance calls,
and offers a Web-based shopping resource
with half a million products.
I. Influencing Policy (pages 291–293)
A. Policy consists of all the actions and
decisions taken or not taken by the
B. Federal bureaucrats carry out policy decisions
made by the president and Congress.
C. The bureaucracy often determines what the
law means through the rules and regulations
it issues.
D. In 1995 Congress set paperwork reduction
goals for future years.
I. Influencing Policy (pages 291–293)
E. Bureaucrats aid in shaping policy by
helping Congress draft its new laws or by
providing ideas for legislation.
F. Workers in federal agencies shape policy by
their decisions about the application of rules
and regulations and by hearing disputes.
G. Bureaucrats also supply advice and
information to top decision makers,
influencing whether an agency supports or
opposes certain policies.
I. Influencing Policy (pages 291–293)
What are the advantages and disadvantages
of having federal bureaucrats influence
policy decisions?
Advantages: efficiency and expertise;
Disadvantages: loss of representation by
the people.
II. Why the Bureaucracy Makes Policy
(pages 293–295)
A. The growth of the bureaucracy mirrors the
growth of the nation’s population and rapid
changes in technology.
B. The Cold War and international crises
since World War II spurred the growth of
the bureaucracy.
C. The New Deal doubled the size of the
federal government.
D. Citizen special-interest groups demanded
various services and programs.
E. Once created, government agencies almost
never die.
II. Why the Bureaucracy Makes Policy
(pages 293–295)
Will the federal bureaucracy grow or shrink
in the future? Explain.
Answers will vary. Downsizing government is
popular, but needs for government grow.
III. Influencing Bureaucratic Decisions
(pages 295–297)
A. Congress has an important influence
over bureaucrats.
B. Congress can influence decision making in
federal agencies.
C. Congress’s main power over the bureaucracy
is its control of agencies’ budgets.
D. Citizens may challenge agencies’ actions
in courts.
III. Influencing Bureaucratic Decisions
(pages 295–297)
What are ways Congress influences
decisions made by the federal bureaucracy?
Passing new legislation and controlling agency
budgets; Congress also holds agencies
accountable for their activities with the
Government Performance and Results Act.
IV. The Influence of Client Groups (pages 297–298)
A. Federal agencies have client groups that
try to influence decisions.
B. The close cooperation between
congressional committees, client groups,
and a federal agency or department is
referred to as an iron triangle.
IV. The Influence of Client Groups (pages 297–298)
IV. The Influence of Client Groups (pages 297–298)
Critics often complain that iron triangles in
the federal government shut out the public
and serve only the interests of special
groups. Explain.
Committees, agencies, and interest groups may
work together, ignoring the public interest.
Checking for Understanding
1. Main Idea Using a graphic organizer like the
one below, identify two ways Congress
influences federal agencies and two ways
federal agencies contribute to legislation.
Answers might include: Congress: new
legislation, the budget; Federal agencies: draft
bills, testify about legislation.
Checking for Understanding
Match the term with the correct definition.
C client group
A liaison officer
B injunction
D iron triangle
A. a cabinet department
employee who helps promote
good relations with Congress
B. an order that will stop a
particular action or enforce a
rule or regulation
C. individuals and groups who
work with a government
agency and are most affected
by its decisions
D. a relationship formed among
government agencies,
congressional committees,
and client groups who work
Checking for Understanding
3. Identify Social Security Act, Department of
Veterans Affairs.
The Social Security Act was passed in 1935
by Congress and established the Social
Security system which makes it possible for
disabled workers to receive payments from
the government.
The Department of Veterans Affairs
provides important services, such as
hospital care, to veterans.
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Checking for Understanding
4. What are five reasons that the federal
bureaucracy has assumed an important role in
making public policy?
The five reasons are national growth and
technology, international crises, economic
problems at home, citizens’ demands, and the
nature of bureaucracy.
Critical Thinking
5. Making Inferences Do you think that iron
triangles undermine or serve the public interest?
Explain your answer.
Students should support their opinions. Students
may note the cooperation of the groups or the
undue influence of interest groups.
Separation of Powers The government
bureaucracy, in theory, carries out the
policy decisions of Congress and the
president. In practice, however, the
bureaucracy also helps influence policy.
Create a political cartoon depicting one
of the ways in which the federal
bureaucracy influences policy.