Our Wonderland of Bureaucracy: A Study of the Growth of Bureaucracy in the Federal Government, and Its Destructive Effect upon the Constitution

By James M. Beck | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE RISE OF BUREAUCRACY

"There ought to be some men moving about somewhere --and so there are!" she added in a tone of delight, and her heart began to beat quick with excitement as she went on. "It's a great huge game of chess that's being played--all over the world--if this is the world at all, you know. Oh, what fun it is! How I wish I was one of them! I wouldn't mind being a Pawn, if only I might join--though of course I should like to be a Queen best."--ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

WHEN in 1789 the curtain first rose upon a new form of government for the American Commonwealth, it consisted of a roll of parchment, George Washington, and Congress. After providing for revenues by the passage of a tariff bill, the creation of a bureaucracy began when James Madison, among his contemporaries the deepest student in the science of government, arose in his place in the House of Representatives and submitted a motion "that there shall be established an Executive Department to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs, with an official to be called the Secretary to the Department of Foreign Affairs, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; and to be removable by the President." Similar motions were made for the establishment of a Treasury and War Department, with a motion by Mr. Vining for the establishment of a Domestic Department.

Madison's motion to establish a Foreign Department was first considered. There was no objection to the creation of such a Department with a single executive officer, to be denominated a Secretary, but there was serious disagreement over the manner of his removal. The clause "and to be removable by the President" provoked a prolonged debate of almost six days, pitched on as high an intellectual plane as possibly has since been reached in any session of Congress. It was a fateful debate; for it involved the question whether the federal bureaucracy would be congressional or executive.

The issue was nothing less than the equilibrium of power

-37-

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