American Government

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Previous Lessons
Open Chapter Ch. 1: The Democratic Republic
Lesson #1 Politics and Government
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Lesson #2 Democracy and Other Forms of Government
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Lesson #3 What Kind of Democracy Do We Have?
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Lesson #4 Fundamental Values
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Lesson #5 Political Ideologies
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Open Chapter Ch. 2: Forging a New Government: The Constitution
Lesson #6 The Colonial Background
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Lesson #7 An Independent Confederation
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Lesson #8 The Constitutional Convention
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Lesson #9 The Difficult Road to Ratification
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Lesson #10 Altering the Constitution
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Open Chapter Ch. 3: Federalism
Lesson #11 Federalism and Its Alternatives
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Lesson #12 The Constitutional Basis for American Federalism
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Lesson #13 Defining Constitutional Powers -- The Early Years
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Lesson #14 The Continuing Dispute over the Division of Power
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Lesson #15 Federalism and Today’s Supreme Court
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Exam Exam 1
Open Chapter Ch. 4: Civil Liberties
Lesson #16 The Constitutional Bases of Our Liberties
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Lesson #17 Freedom of Religion
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Lesson #18 Freedom of Expression
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Lesson #19 The Right to Privacy
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Lesson #20 The Great Balancing Act: The Rights of the Accused versus the Rights of Society
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Open Chapter Ch. 5: Civil Rights
Lesson #21 The African American Experience and the Civil Rights Movement
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Lesson #22 Civil Rights and the Courts
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Lesson #23 Experiences of Other Minority Groups
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Lesson #24 Women’s Struggle for Equal Rights
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Lesson #25 The Rights and Status of Gay Males and Lesbians
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Open Chapter Ch. 6: Public Opinion, Political Socialization, and the Media
Lesson #26 Public Opinion and Political Socialization
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Lesson #27 The Influence of Demographic Factors
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Lesson #28 Measuring Public Opinion
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Lesson #29 Public Opinion and the Political Process
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Lesson #30 The Media in the United States
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Lesson #31 The Media and Political Campaigns
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Open Chapter Ch. 7: Interest Groups and Political Parties
Lesson #32 A Nation of Joiners
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Lesson #33 Types of Interest Groups
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Lesson #34 Interest Group Strategies
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Lesson #35 Political Parties in the United States
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Lesson #36 A History of Political Parties in the United States
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Lesson #37 Why Has the Two-Party System Endured?
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Exam Midterm Exam
Open Chapter Ch. 8: Campaigns and Elections
Lesson #38 The Twenty-First-Century Campaign
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Lesson #39 Financing the Campaign
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Lesson #40 Running for President: The Longest Campaign
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Lesson #41 How Are Elections Conducted?
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Lesson #42 How Do Voters Decide?
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Open Chapter Ch. 9: The Congress
Lesson #43 The Nature and Functions of Congress
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Lesson #44 House-Senate Differences and Congressional Perks
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Lesson #45 Congressional Elections and Apportionment
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Lesson #46 How Congress Is Organized
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Lesson #47 Law Making and Budgeting
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Open Chapter Ch. 10: The Presidency
Lesson #48 Who Can Become President?
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Lesson #49 The Many Roles of the President
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Lesson #50 Presidential Powers
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Lesson #51 The Executive Organization
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Lesson #52 The Vice Presidency
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Exam Exam 3
Open Chapter Ch. 11: The Bureaucracy
Lesson #53 The Nature and Scope of the Federal Bureaucracy
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Lesson #54 The Organization of the Federal Bureaucracy
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Lesson #55 Staffing the Bureaucracy
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Lesson #56 Modern Attempts at Bureaucratic Reform
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Lesson #57 Bureaucrats as Politicians and Policymakers
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Open Chapter Ch. 12: The Judiciary
Lesson #58 Sources of American Law
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Lesson #59 The Federal Court System
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Lesson #60 The Supreme Court at Work
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Lesson #61 The Selection of Federal Judges
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Lesson #62 Policymaking and the Courts
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Open Chapter Ch. 13: Domestic and Economic Policy
Lesson #63 The Policymaking Process: Health Care as an Example
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Lesson #64 Immigration
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Lesson #65 Energy and the Environment
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Lesson #66 The Politics of Economic Decision Making
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Lesson #67 The Politics of Taxation
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Open Chapter Ch. 14: Foreign Policy
Lesson #68 Facing the World: Foreign and Defense Policies
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Lesson #69 Terrorism and Warfare
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Lesson #70 U.S. Diplomatic Efforts
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Lesson #71 Who Makes Foreign Policy?
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Lesson #72 The Major Foreign Policy Themes
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Exam Final Exam

Assignments:

Unfinished Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 53

Lesson Objectives:

- Public and private bureaucracies
- The expanding government bureaucracy
- The rise of spending
- A detailed look at federal spending



A Bureaucracy is a large organization that is structured hierarchically to carry out specific functions.

Bureaucracy is not unique to the government. There are bureaucracies at play in corporations, universities, and other private institutions as well.

There are major differences between public bureaucracies and private ones. Private corporations have a CEO while government organizations may have the president as the Chief Administrator. Government organizations are beholden to Congress for staffing and funding. Another major difference is that corporations are for-profit and the government is not.



The State Department, War Department, and Treasury Department, along with the Department of Justice were the departments of the government in the late 1700s. Since then, the government has grown quite a bit.

From having about 30 employees, the government has grown to about 2.5 million and that excludes the 1.4 million in the military.

Since the late 1700s, government trajectory has been on an upward course, employing more and more people every administration until Reagan took office. He cut back on government employment and revenue sharing, which is the transfer of huge sums of money to the state and local governments. After Reagan, the upward course resumed, but not at the rate that it had been.



In 1929, spending was at about 11% of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). By 2015, it had risen to about 35% of GDP. What recently drove government spending up was the Great Recession that started in 2007.

To combat the recession, the government increased spending. With the fall of federal revenues, the federal deficit increased. At $1,400 billion, the deficit peaked in 2010. Since then, the nation has slowly recovered and the deficit fell to $475 billion in 2016.



Benefits for the elderly like Social Security and Medicare come to more than 40% of the federal budget. Programs for the poor as in Medicaid and SNAP come to about 20%.

We spend about 20% on Military defense and veterans' benefits. In interest payments on our debt, we spend about 6.5%. The rest of our federal budget is split up into many different categories like foreign aid.

As for where the money comes from, personal income tax accounts for about 40% of our total income. Social Security trust funds add another 20%. Then, we borrow about 14%.