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The civilian employees of the national government who are responsible for implementing federal laws.

Spoils System

The expansion of the patronage system to a level of corruption that placed political cronies into all levels of government

Merit System

The system that classifies federal civil service jobs into grades to which appointments are made on the basis of performance on competitive exams.


A complex system of organization and control that incorporates the principles of hierarchical authority, division of labor, and formalized rules.

Civil Service System

The merit-based employment system that covers most white-collar and specialist positions in the federal government.

Rule Making

The administrative process that creates rules that have the characteristics of a law.

Federal Register

A publication of the federal government used to announce public notice of the time, place, and nature of the proceedings to be followed when new agency rules are proposed.

Cabinet Departments

The 15 major administrative organizations within the federal bureaucracy that are responsible for major governmental functions such as defense, commerce, and homeland security.

Line Organization

An administrative organization that is directly accountable to the president.

Independent Executive Agency

A governmental unit with special responsibilities that is not part of any cabinet department.

Independent Regulator Agency

An agency existing outside the major departments that regulates a specific economic activity or interest.


The practice whereby individuals in the bureaucracy bring public attention to gross inefficiency or corruption in the government.

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