Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):85-108 (2021)

When the modern administrative state emerged in America during the Progressive Era, at the beginning of the twentieth century, it was typically grounded on the premise that administrative officials are experts who should be insulated from politics. This theory, combined with emerging ideas of scientific management, contributed to the intellectual justification for the administrative state. However, progressives never fully reconciled the tension between this theory and the democratic nature of American politics. Because of this ambiguity and tension in the progressives’ theory of expertise, the politics/administration dichotomy was abandoned shortly after the administrative state was constructed. The place of expertise in the administrative state is still ambiguous, even in the twenty-first century.
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DOI 10.1017/s0265052521000236
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