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For more than two centuries, argues Brian J. Cook in Bureaucracy and Self-Government, two conceptions of public administration have coexisted in American politics: the "instrumental" (bureaucracy's job is to carry out the orders of elected officials) and the "constitutive" (bureaucracy shapes public policy and thus the character of the political community). Through an examination of key conflicts in American political development -- from the debates of 1789 through the Jacksonian era controversies and the confrontations of the New Deal -- Cook shows how these two views of public administration have been in constant tension, with the instrumental view eventually dominating public discourse.