IT is somewhat surprising that there has not been published long ago a comprehensive and systematic work on American national administration, but it must be acknowledged that with all that has been written on our governmental system this part of it has been hitherto almost entirely neglected, except in fugitive and scattered articles on particular phases of the sub- ject. For a long time books on American government dealt only with the Constitution and its judicial interpretation, with special reference to the powers of Congress. Since Mr. Bryce's enlightening work appeared attention has been given to methods of legislative procedure and the influence of parties and party machinery. But the administrative organization and activities of the government have still been hardly men- tioned in most works of a general nature.
At the same time the importance of administrative questions is evidenced by the attention given to them in public discus- sions, in current periodicals and in the volumes that have been published on many special topics. It may indeed be safely as- serted that the problems of administration are the important problems of the present; and that they receive the attention which in earlier times was given to problems of constitutional organization. In view of these facts there seems to be a place for a general survey of the whole field of national administra- tion which is presented in this book.
A glance at the table of contents will indicate more definitely the scope of the work. It will be seen that it is not an account of the national government as a whole, but simply of the ad- ministrative system. The legislative and judicial branches are