The Bureaucrat Kings
The Origins and Underpinnings of America's Bureaucratic State
by Paul D. Moreno
November 2016, 204pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3966-5
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3967-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Americans often question the excessive power and wanton “red tape” of the bureaucratic system.

Provocative in nature, this work looks critically at the bureaucratic infrastructure behind the U.S. federal government, from its origins as a self-governing republic in the 18th century to its modern presence as a centralized institution.

This fascinating critique analyzes the inner workings of the American government, suggesting that our federal system works not as a byproduct of the U.S. Constitution but rather as the result of liberal and progressive politics. Distinguished academic and political analyst Paul D. Moreno asserts that errant political movements have found “loopholes” in the U.S. Constitution, allowing for federal bureaucracy—a state he feels is a misinterpretation of America’s founding dogma. He contends that constitutionalism and bureaucracy are innately incompatible… with the former suffering to accommodate the latter.

According to Moreno, the leadership of the United States strayed from the democratic principles of the early founders and grew to what it is today—a myriad of bureaucratic red tape couched in unreasonable policies. A straightforward, chronological narrative explains how non-elected bureaucrats became powerful political mavens in America. Each chapter covers several decades and features events spanning from the early history of the United States through coverage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) of 2010.


  • Suggests a number of improvements in the way our government runs based on the basic principles of good government
  • Explains the sources of bureaucratic government—how we went from a limited, constitutional government to a sovereign state
  • Discusses the economic, religious, and legal background of the growth of bureaucratic government
  • Shows how the original Constitution contained the spread of bureaucracy for more than a century
  • Reveals how the nineteenth-century party system avoided administrative excesses
Paul D. Moreno is William and Berniece Grewcock Chair in Constitutional History at Hillsdale College. He has held visiting professorships at Princeton University and the University of Paris School of Law. His published works include From Direct Action to Affirmative Action: Fair Employment Law and Policy in America, 1933–1972; Black Americans and Organized Labor: A New History; and The American State from the Civil War to the New Deal: The Twilight of Constitutionalism and the Triumph of Progressivism. He earned his doctorate at the University of Maryland.


"In The Bureaucrat kings: the Origins and Underpinnings of America’s Bureaucratic State, Paul Moreno indicts the American administrative state and our new ruling class, its chief beneficiary. A professor of history at Hillsdale College, he writes as a historian but also a citizen in rejecting the inherent beneficence or historical inevitability of social “reform” and “progress.” Alert to the profound effect the idea of progress has had on popular government, he nonetheless judges historical and political changes in light of an unchanging standard of the public good, or justice, an idea inherent in the founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."—Claremont Review of Books, March 27, 2018
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