Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

United States federal civil service

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


  • Roland McMillan Harper (1878 - 1966)
    Roland McMillan Harper (1878 – 1966) was an American botanist, geographer, naturalist, explorer, and writer. He wrote for the Savannah Morning News and covered the settlement of Georgia's wiregrass r...
  • Charles Gordon Dobbins (1908 - 1988)
    Charles Gordon Dobbins (1908-1988) was a journalist and educator who is best remembered for espousing moderately liberal views in his writings. Notably, Dobbins spoke out against lynching, poll taxes, ...
  • John Beecher (1904 - 1980)
    Alabama poet, journalist, and social activist John Beecher (1904-1980) focused his work on social justice and the rights of working people, especially factory and mill workers and African Americans in ...
  • David Rusk (1940 - d.)
    David Patrick Rusk (born 1940) is an American politician. He served as mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, from 1977 to 1981. He is the son of former United States Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Rusk is...
  • John Wesley Dobbs (1882 - 1961)
    John Wesley Dobbs (March 26, 1882 – August 30, 1961) was an African-American civic and political leader in Atlanta, Georgia. He was often referred to as the unofficial "mayor" of Auburn Avenue, the s...

Note: this project is not intended to duplicate existing "Related Projects". For example, the FBI, U.S. Cabinet Members, Postmasters General, Ambassadors of the United States, and CIA Directors are covered by existing Geni "Related Projects" that are linked here.

United States federal civil service

In the United States, the federal civil service was established in 1871. The Federal Civil Service is defined as "all appointive positions in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the Government of the United States, except positions in the uniformed services." (5 U.S.C. § 2101). In the early 19th century, positions in the federal government were held at the pleasure of the president—a person could be fired at any time. The spoils system meant that jobs were used to support the American political parties, though this was gradually changed by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and subsequent laws. By 1909, almost two-thirds of the U.S. federal workforce was appointed based on merit, that is, qualifications measured by tests. Certain senior civil service positions, including some heads of diplomatic missions and executive agencies are filled by political appointees. Under the Hatch Act of 1939, civil servants are not allowed to engage in political activities while performing their duties.

According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), as of December 2011, there were approximately 2.79 million civil servants (civilian, i.e. non-uniformed) employed by the US Government. (This includes executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. This also includes more than 600,000 United States Postal workers.)

The U.S. civil service includes the Competitive service and the Excepted service. The majority of civil service appointments in the U.S. are made under the Competitive Service, but certain categories in the Diplomatic Service, the FBI, and other National Security positions are made under the Excepted Service. (U.S. Code Title V)

U.S. state and local government entities often have competitive civil service systems that are modeled on the national system, in varying degrees.

List of federal agencies in the United States