The Political Ethics of Public Service

  • Vera Vogelsang-Coombs

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Vera Vogelsang-Coombs
      Pages 13-38
  3. The Ethical Inquiry of Career Public Servants: Balancing Public and Private Morality in Governing Methods

  4. Great Political Ideas and American Constitutionalism: Balancing Liberty and Equality in Government

  5. Political Institutions and Democratic Public Service: Balancing Liberty and Authority in Bureaucratic Governance

  6. Conclusion

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 359-398

About this book


This book provides a defense of democratic politics in American public service and offers the political ethics of public service as a realistic and optimistic alternative to the cynical American view toward politics and public service. The author’s alternative helps career public servants regain public trust by exercising constitutionally centered moral and political leadership that balances the regime values of liberty and equality in governing American society while contributing to the ethical progress of the nation. She identifies three distinct leadership styles of political ethics, enabling career public servants to reconcile their personal loyalties, morality, and consciences with the public and private morality of American society and their constitutional obligations to secure the democratic freedoms of Americans. Recognizing career public servants’ moral and institutional struggles, the book proposes a rigorous leadership development program to acclimate individuals to workplace psychological, moral, and political challenges. The view offered here is that career public servants must be a part of, rather than isolated from, American politics to be effective on the job.


political ethics public service US Constitution administrative ethics applied ethics US Politics John Rohr Civil Rights Movement democracy public sector leadership public administration federalism

Authors and affiliations

  • Vera Vogelsang-Coombs
    • 1
  1. 1.Cleveland State UniversityBeachwoodUSA

Bibliographic information