Federal Bureaucracy Timeline
How It All Went Down
State Department Created
President George Washington signs into law legislation passed by Congress on 21 July 1789 creating the Department of Foreign Affairs. Soon renamed the Department of State, it is the first federal agency created by the government under the Constitution.
Munn v. Illinois
The United States Supreme Court rules in Munn v. Illinois that state governments have the authority to regulate private business. Grain warehouse owners had challenged the legitimacy of an Illinois state law that regulated warehouse and elevators rates. In response, the Court rules that state governments can regulate private property "when such regulation becomes necessary for the public good."13
The United States Congress passes the Pendleton Act, , introducing an examination system for selecting federal civil servants. Only 10% of all federal appointees are initially made subject to this process of selection by examination.
Muller v. Oregon
The United States Supreme Court rules in Muller v. Oregon that governments can regulate the workplace. Muller challenged a 1903 Oregon law that limited the work day to ten hours for female laundry and factory workers, arguing that this violated the rights of employers and employees to enter into contracts freely. But the Court rules that the state has a legitimate—and in this case, more compelling—obligation to protect the health, welfare, and safety of its citizens.
Civil Aeronautics Act
The United States Congress passes the Civil Aeronautics Act, creating an agency, labeled the Civil Aeronautics Board, to promote and regulate the emerging commercial airlines. By regulating routes, fares, and schedules, the CAB aims to protect the new industry and provide Americans with safe and extensive commercial passenger air service.
Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee
The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee is established by the United States Congress to provide the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, responsible for enforcing the Clean Air Act of 1970, with scientific advice regarding pollution and air quality standards.
President Jimmy Carter signs the Airline Deregulation Act into law, phasing out the Civil Aeronautics Board as part of a gradual deregulation of the airline industry.
Reagan Task Force on Regulatory Relief
One day following his inauguration, President Ronald Reagan announces the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief. A proponent of deregulation of the American economy, Reagan demands that federal agencies demonstrate that their regulations are cost effective and beneficial to society.
Naturalization Service v. Chadha
The United States Supreme Court rules in Naturalization Service v. Chadha that legislative vetoes are unconstitutional; Congress may not interfere with the execution of laws that have been passed on to the executive branch for implementation. Despite this ruling, Congress and the president have continued to negotiate agreements during the legislative process whereby Congress can challenge the president's decisions regarding the execution of the bill.
Civil Aeronautics Board Disbanded
The Civil Aeronautics Board is abolished in accordance with the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 and the Civil Aeronautics Board Sunset Act of 1984. America's commercial airlines are subsequently no longer subject to the extensive government regulations first imposed in 1938.
EPA Rejects Scientific Advisory Committee
As urged by the President, the Environmental Protection Agency announces air quality standards lower than those recommended by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. The president asserts his executive authority under the Constitution; Congress complains that in refusing to defer to the recommendations of a scientific board established by the Clean Air Act, the president is violating the intentions of the anti-pollution legislation.
Republican President George W. Bush announces a bailout of banking giant Citigroup, the latest in a series of interventions in the nation's economy that are unprecedented and uncharacteristic for a president from the party historically opposed to government regulation.