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Study of administration

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Woodrow Wilson’s article “Study of Administration” gives its current readers the brief idea of how government and its people viewed administration in the past as well as informing the readers of the implementation of administration. The article starts by telling the audience that science of administration is too large of a topic and should not be in a sub category of political science. Although the two categories are rather similar Wilson uses a German writer named Biuntschli as an example for stating the difference of the two. Wilson (1887) writes: Biuntschli, for instance, bids us separate administration alike from politics and from law.2 Politics, he says, is state activity “in things great and universal,” while “administration, on the other hand,” is “the activity of the state in individual and small things. Politics is thus the special province of the statesman, administration of the technical official.” “Policy does nothing without the aid of administrations; but administration is not therefore politics. (p 10) So, Wilson also believed that although the two are similar they are not the same. For example, an alligator is similar to a crocodile. They are both reptilian and live in water; however, they are classified as either a crocodile or an alligator because they come from different families. Most alligators are a sub group of crocodile family and resemble closely to each other; however, they are not classified as just crocodiles. Wilson (1887) writes: The field of administration is a field of business.

It is removed from the hurry and strife of politics; it at most points stands apart even from the debatable ground of constitutional study. Most important to be observed is the truth already so much and so fortunately insisted upon by our civil-service reformers; namely, that administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. (p. 9) Although alligators and crocodiles are different from political science and science of administration they both have the same concept in which the two that are related are different. Throughout this article Woodrow Wilson creates examples and improvement of how administration has becoming a popular topic and how it is needed to create a better government. Wilson writes that over the years the government’s duty was small and it became more complex over the years (Wilson, 1887, p. 3). In the article “Study of Administration” Wilson states: “This is why there should be a science of administration which shall seek to straighten the paths of government, to make its business less unbusinesslike, to strengthen and purify its organization, and to crown its dutifulness.” With so many laws being made in the 1800s Wilson believed that it was imperative to find a more advanced way of governing. Wilson (1887) writes: “The object of administrative study is to rescue executive methods from the confusion and costliness of empirical experiment and set them upon foundations laid deep in stable principle” (p. 9).

Wilson wrote with the intention of having the audience view that administration is the key to the changes and bettering their governing system. Wilson’s article basically strives to get the attention of the readers of how important administration is and how the United States is so advance in many key aspects of organization there was a problem that they have yet to overcome. Wilson (1887) writes: “Such an explanation seems to afford the only escape from blank astonishment at the fact that, in spite of our vast advantages in point of political liberty, and above all in point of practical political skill and sagacity, so many nations are ahead of us in administrative organization and administrative skill” (p. 7). Wilson then in his article begins to outline many of the things that have kept the United States behind administration and possible methods of increasing our administration. An example of what Wilson lists to be holding them back on the idea of administration is the fact that the United States is a democracy therefore it is a public oriented government in which the whole has to agree. Compared to many successful or further developed administrations in other nations, their governing systems are monarchy. To change the system and introduce administration in a monarch system would require changing one man’s ideal; whereas a democracy would require influencing majority of the public.

Many people have differing opinion which makes the process of law making process to take longer. Wilson starts giving brain storming how the politicians could introduce administration such as planting the thought of it in one generation and as generations go by it would become popular and making the policies and principles easier to understand; however, he himself is not sure of the path they must take to implement. He even goes to the point of talking about bureaucracy in which the expert people in the field would have power over the public when necessary in order to have things created. Aside from figuring out what methods needed to implement administration comes the problem of figuring out how to successfully run it. Wilson believed that the best method of attaining actual knowledge of administration was by copying or taking the foreign administration policy as examples. In Wilson’s article it seems like he is trying to convince the audience that borrowing the administration system from foreign countries is the best method. Wilson (1887) writes in his article “We borrowed rice, but we do not eat it with chopsticks. We borrowed our whole political language from England, but we leave the words “king” and “lords” out of it. What did we ever originate, except the action of the federal government upon individuals, and some of the functions of the federal supreme court?” (p. 14).

This article was written in the 1887 where the publics’ patriotic was extremely large towards the United States which is the belief of why he spends a couple of paragraphs trying to explain why borrowing the system from other countries is fine. Wilson believes that by trying to create their administration from scratch would have too many problems and would take far too long therefore the best method is to take parts and pieces of administration from other countries. A very strong connection and example he uses to justify his reasoning’s of using others for reference would be Wilson (1887), “If I see a murderous fellow sharpening a knife cleverly, I can borrow his way of sharpening the knife without borrowing his probable intention to commit murder with it; and so, if I see a monarchist dyed in the wool managing a public bureau well, I can learn his business methods without changing one of my republican spots. He may serve his king; I will continue to serve the people; but I should like to serve my sovereign as well as he serves his” (p. 15). Wilson’s article gives its current readers a story of how administration was thought and came about in the 1800s. The article’s premise is the study of administration which includes implementation and creation. Many of the things Wilson wrote was from 1887 it is easily understandable due to the fact that the current government uses public administration along with political leaders in creating laws and regulation. Although his view on bureaucracy taking part in administration wasn’t a success his thought of administration are what lead it to be what it is today.

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