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Lesson 24: How Are National Laws Administered in the American Constitutional System?

Lesson Purpose

Departments, agencies, and bureaus that administer the laws, often referred to as the bureaucracy, touch every aspect of American life. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency sets standards for water and air quality. The Department of Transportation adopts rules for the development and operation of the interstate highway system. The Federal Aviation Administration oversees air traffic safety. The Food and Drug Administration approves medications. This lesson examines the role of administrative departments and agencies in America's national government.

When you have finished this lesson, you should be able to explain why Congress creates administrative units, the circumstances that contribute to their creation, and the range of governmental functions that administrative units perform. You also should be able to identify some of the checks on the exercise of administrative power. Finally, you should be able to evaluate, take, and defend positions on public administration in the United States.