Civil Service

AP US Government and Politics


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Civil Service: Federal employees who work for government through a competitive, not political selection process. The permanent professional branches of a government's administration, excluding military and judicial branches and elected politicians. U.S. state and local government entities often have competitive civil service systems that are modeled on the national system, in varying degrees. According to the Office of Personnel Management, as of December 2011, there were approximately 2.79 million civil servants employed by the U.S. government.


In the 19th century U.S. civil service positions, through the spoils system, were filled based on party loyalty and political patronage.


The Ugly History Behind Trump’s Attacks on Civil Servants


AP US Government and Politics


  1. What are some examples of jobs that are part of the U.S. civil service?

  2. How does the current U.S. civil service differ from the U.S. civil service of the 19th century?

  3. What act depoliticized the U.S. civil service?

  4. Imagine the U.S. civil service reverted back to the spoils system. How would that change daily life in America?