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Ethics in American Public Administration: A Response to a Changing Reality

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This article tracks the evolution of ethics in American public administration from the inception of the field in the late nineteenth century to the present, and employs the ethical lens to address some of the current pressing problems (e.g., immigration, climate change, and e-surveillance). The study acknowledges the fact that ethics has not evolved in a vacuum. Ever since the Progressive Era, various forces—social, political, legal, as well as technological—have greatly shaped the evolution of ethics, with every era injecting its opportunities and challenges, as well as its dictating values. This article highlights the continuity of ethics in public administration, by arguing that administrative ethics has not been static as it evolved over the years; it has evolved not by omission but by addition, in reflecting the changing reality of every age.