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Legislative actions concerning the ministrant functions of government Wilson termed "ordinance-making," which "lies closer to fact, to practical conditions and detail, than does a law.
He argued that local government should have primary responsibility for the conduct of administration (that is, the ministrant functions of government).
Reforms that would deal with the abuses of industrialization fell into a category that Wilson defined as the "ministrant" functions of government, as opposed to those functions he called "constituent." Constituent functions he defined as the protection of life, liberty, and property.
One might assume that the constituent functions of government would be the proper domain for apolitical administrators, while the more controversial ministrant functions would be the realm of political leadership, but Wilson asserted just the opposite.
Nevertheless, the priorities to be given to various ministrant functions, and even the methods of undertaking them, are enormously controversial and highly political topics.(9)
In Congressional Government, he asserted that "a sharp line" must be drawn "between those offices which are political and those which are non-political" or administrative.(11) This dichotomy between the political origins of law and the supposedly neutral, managerial role of administrators remains controversial in the field of public administration and, as we have seen, is not congruent with Wilson's own definition of the "constituent" and "ministrant" functions of government.(12)
By defining the ministrant functions of government as apolitical and assigning those functions to administrators, he seemed to be claiming a distinction between politics and administration.
duties apparently not assigned to him at all chiefly occupy his time and energy." He had become the leader of his party, the spokesperson of the people at large, and even the leader of Congress.(30) As Wilson interpreted the evolution of the office, the president was both to define the ministrant functions of government and to see that they were carried out through his political and administrative leadership.(31)
Thus far, it might have been possible for even Republican legislators to believe that what Wilson was suggesting was, in fact, nonpartisan, but in the latter part of his address it became clear that he was proposing to enlarge substantially what he had earlier called the "ministrant functions" that would be entrusted to state administrators.
He had lost confidence in administrative reform as the route to enlarging the ministrant functions of government.
Before the Wilson years ended, there had been a huge expansion of the "ministrant" functions of administration, just as Wilson had anticipated in his lectures of the 1890s.
whose individuality is cast upward in divine afflatus, and dissolved and carried off in the recipient breath of angelic ministrants." (10) Stripped of her earthly persona and "dissolved" into the heavens, EBB becomes a bodiless spirit whose sole purpose is to transmit a spiritual message.
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