Normative Nature of Founding Principles and the Foundations of Bureaucratic Ethics


Currently, there are numerous contemporary policy debates in the United States. In this respect, this essay focuses on the immigration policy debates in the United States. It also focuses on the issue of democratic governance as the basis of bureaucratic ethics.

Debates about the Immigration Policy

The United States’ immigration policy is one of the contemporary policy issues that have attracted the attention of different stakeholders (Cannato, 2012). The debates are divided into different opinions as every individual has his or her own opinion about what the immigration policy should address (Garrett, 2010). It is argued that the immigration policy needs to deal with issues related to human rights, economics, and ethics (Gabaccia, 2008; Mitchell, 2010). The question is how the issues reflect the normative nature of the founding principles of the Constitution. This can be explained by two of the founding principles.

One of the principles recognizes that the natural law plays a crucial role in the lives of individuals (McFerran, 2009). In this case, the principle states that rights come from God, and not from man. The other principle recognizes private property rights (McFerran, 2009). When referring to this principle, James Madison stated that even if an individual did not own anything, he still owned his fundamental rights, which were considered as the most valuable property an individual ever owned (Leibiger, 2012).

The immigration policy reflects the normative nature of the foregoing two founding principles in several ways: first, the policy has failed to deal with the illegal flow of immigrants, a situation that has resulted in the violation of the very natural human rights principles sought to protect. The argument here is that if the founding principles of the Constitution are normative, then they should protect the rights of immigrants entering the United States to preserve their rights to life and property. For instance, many immigrants escape their repressive governments to seek refuge in the United States; some of these immigrants do not have proper documentation.

Therefore, the debates on this policy question why the Constitution does not stick to its founding normative principles of protecting the fundamental human rights of those who seek its intervention (Golash-Boza, 2012). Second, it is also important to note that uncontrolled immigration results in reduced wages in some sectors (Abbott, 2012). In the opinion of economists, employers would rather provide employments to foreigners who zealously work long hours for less pay than hire the citizens of the United States (Siskin, 2011). The consequence of this is that a good number of the United States’ citizens do not get job opportunities thereby lacking the ability to own property. This may also be viewed as a way of infringing the rights of individuals to own property.

An Analysis of Democratic Governance as the Foundation of Bureaucratic Ethics

Several studies have linked the roots of bureaucratic ethics to the concept of democratic governance (Menzel, 2012; Khan, 2008). To analyze this scenario, it is important to define what these concepts are, and the elements that constitute them. Democratic governance is based on democratic principles, whose main focus is on human rights and freedoms (Mangu, 2012; Bredt, 2011). On the other side, ethics can be described as the ideals that are used to guide moral decisions (Elliott, 2008). They are often based on societal and religious norms. Some of the striking features of bureaucratic ethics include justice, recognition, and respect for human rights, and awareness of the consequences of certain individual actions (Elliott, 2008).

Bureaucrats always work as public servants (Hummel, 2007). For public servants to exercise bureaucratic ethics, they must understand and exhibit the behaviors that conform to the ideals of democracy (Siddiquee, 2013). The implication here is that without democracy and its principles, it is impossible to have bureaucratic ethics (Siddiquee, 2013). Democracy recognizes that some inherent fundamental human rights cannot be taken away by the government; it, therefore, tasks the government to protect the rights and maintain public order (Siddiquee, 2013). Therefore, to achieve this, democratic governance must be exercised by the state. If the government fails to observe the ideals and principles of democracy, then there is no basis for the existence of bureaucratic ethics (Siddiquee, 2013).

An Opinion on Democratic Governance as a Foundation of Bureaucratic Ethics

I agree with the idea that bureaucratic ethics is founded on democratic governance. This is because the principles of bureaucratic ethics are directly borrowed from democracy. For example, the principles that bureaucrats must be able to understand the ideals of democracy and also respect human rights are borrowed from the concept of democratic governance. Besides, the need for bureaucrats to respect human rights is another principle of democracy. Hence, without democratic governance, it may be impossible to exercise bureaucratic ethics.


Democratic governance is the foundation of bureaucratic ethics. In this case, it may be impossible to have bureaucratic ethics without democratic governance. The fact of the matter is that the lack of democratic governance may result in repressive forms of governance. In such a scenario, there is likely to be a shortage of bureaucratic ethics. As a result, it can be concluded that for bureaucratic ethics to exist and thrive, there must be democratic governance.


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DemoEssays. (2022) 'Normative Nature of Founding Principles and the Foundations of Bureaucratic Ethics'. 30 December.


DemoEssays. 2022. "Normative Nature of Founding Principles and the Foundations of Bureaucratic Ethics." December 30, 2022.

1. DemoEssays. "Normative Nature of Founding Principles and the Foundations of Bureaucratic Ethics." December 30, 2022.


DemoEssays. "Normative Nature of Founding Principles and the Foundations of Bureaucratic Ethics." December 30, 2022.