The Confederate Roots of the Administrative State

President Woodrow Wilson, c. 1913 (Library of Congress)
Bureaucratic, unelected, managerial government in America had a surprising birthplace: the Confederate States of America.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he administrative state has grown explosively in America over the past century, almost entirely without roots in our Constitution. Bureaucratic, unelected, managerial government in America had a surprising birthplace: the Confederate States of America. It would ultimately be imported into the theory and practice of the federal government by a son of the Confederacy: Woodrow Wilson.

The foundations of the Confederacy’s pioneering efforts in the field of democratically unaccountable big-government federal bureaucracy were laid in the design of the Confederate constitution. Confederate bureaucracy expanded significantly amid the stresses of a war for the survival of secession. It far outstripped the wartime

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