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Relationship Between Public Administration and Politics

They must mobilize support in the legislature, whose members can create or destroy individual bureaucracies, and they must generate support from the interest groups and individuals who are affected by the policies. Finally, bureaucracies must mobilize support in the media in order to gain the overall support of the public at large. (Etzioni-Halevy, 1983, p. 43).

Historically, governmental bureaucracies in the United States have not enjoyed a reputation for political neutrality. Thomas Jefferson first instituted the practice of removing political opponents from public service in 1803. Andrew Jackson institutionalized the practice of rewarding political support through governmental appointments in the 1830s. From that time forward, the political spoils system ruled American national and local governments. (Etzioni-Halevy, 1983, pp. 164-66). The civil service systems were implemented during the Twentieth Century as a means of eliminating the political spoils system, or at least reducing its effects. Under the civil service system, the American bureaucracies were brought under the model of the British system, to a certain extent. Hiring and promotion were to be based upon merit and dismissals had to meet certain criteria. However, the civil service system was not uniformly implemented throughout the United States and political spoils were still utilized. (Etzioni-Halevy, 1983, pp. 166-67).

The abuses of the administrative structure which arose in the Nineteenth Century led many to advocate the separation of the administrative structure from politics. Ironically, many politicians came to advocate such a separation because it insulated them from the public accountability for hard decisions. They would not be to blame for decisions made by administrative agencies independent from the political realm. However, they also recognized that these decisions would still be influenced by politics. (Peters, 1984, p. 147).

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Relationship Between Public Administration and Politics. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:44, August 20, 2017, from
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