Congressional Records

Over the years, the American government has continued to evolve through the federal bureaucracy, which started back in 1789, during the reign of President George Washington. George Washington established the three arms of the federal government: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. He abolished the previous bureaucracy of the federal government, where all federal government’s employees were from the same family and same party. Despite his promises, most of the federal government employees were from his party: the Federalist Party (The Growth of the Federal Bureaucracy, 2010). The type of federalism, which existed before 1789, was dual federalism: great independency between the states’ government and the national government.

            His predecessor, Thomas Jefferson ingrained the bureaucratic method of employment by dismissing the entire Federalists who occupied government positions, and replaced them with his party members (the Democrats). Andrew Jackson, his predecessor, duplicated his actions. Jackson dismissed all the employees under Jefferson’s administration, and introduced his own ‘Jacksonian Democrats’. Patronage characterized the employment sector during the period between 1800 and 1881.

However, in 1883, enactment of the Pendleton Act provided for merit-basis of employment in the government (The Growth of the Federal Bureaucracy, 2010). The Pendleton Act suppressed the level of bureaucracy in the federal government in the period between 1883 and 1932. However, during the early 1900s, the number of ‘Gilded Age millionaires’ grew rapidly. This resulted to the need for American to demand more control of industries and business by the government. As a result, many agencies were formed, which looked into the matters of commerce and trade.

The coming into power of President Franklin Roosevelt (1933 to 1945) saw Americans experience the largest increase of bureaucracy in the American history (The Growth of the Federal Bureaucracy, 2010). Franklin developed ‘the New Deal:’ creation of many agencies, which administered the many programs he had created for serving the needs of the Americans during the Second World War. President Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies led to conception of ‘the welfare state’ (The Growth of the Federal Bureaucracy, 2010). Through the agencies established by President Roosevelt, the federal government was able to take the responsibility of overseeing the needs of the American people. The period between 1879 and 1960 was characterized by cooperative federalism: interdependence of the state governments and the national government in transfer of financial aid.

In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson reinforced the welfare state by introducing Medicare, the Job Corps, among other programs, through his ‘Great Society’ program. Many of the New Deal and the Great Society’s programs became “a permanent part of the federal bureaucracy” (The Growth of the Federal Bureaucracy, 2010). President Johnson used picket-fence federalism to distribute federal funds to the state governments, in aid of the Americans. In the 1970s, President Nixon strengthened the bureaucratic system of governance by creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Contrary to President Johnson, President Nixon tried to consolidate direct federal funding to the local agencies by introducing the new federalism, but he did not succeed.  

During the period between 1980 and 2000, the federal government increased its bureaucracy in national security. This was a reaction to the increased terrorist attacks, violent crimes, and illegal immigrations. During this period, federal agencies such as FBI, DIA, CIA, and NSA were formed, to look into security concerns of the American (The Development of the Bereaucracy, 2008). The events of the September 11 intensified the federal government’s bureaucracy over national security. The Department of Homeland Security was established, and since then, it has been overseeing the security of the Americans, both in the United States and in the allied nations. Since 1980, cooperative federalism, which has evolved to coercive federalism, has been in existence in the United States.

Currently, the federal bureaucracy is still evidence in matters of security, health care, trade, and business. Recently, the Congress concluded hearings from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which looked into ways of improving the Homeland security after the September 11 events. In addition, the Congress has been looking into ways of improving the health of the Americans through the Medicare Reform Debate, and the Committee on Health, Education, and Pensions on chronic disease prevention. The House of Representatives has also been actively looking into matters of health care, security, housing, and economic empowerment of the Americans through various committees.

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