Lesson 4) It's Bigger on the Inside
As students enter, they see the professor sitting at her desk accompanied by her owl considering the letter before her. She ruffles the bird’s feathers absentmindedly and continues to write a response, choosing to ignore her students’ footsteps and whispering voices as they enter and prepare for class. Satisfied with the letter, she attaches it to the owl and carries her over to the window. “It’s chilly outside, brace yourselves!” She calls before opening the window and letting the bird out and quickly shutting it. Dusting off her robes, the professor moves to the front of the room, waves her hand to shut the door to trap in the rest of the warmth, and begins speaking.
Welcome back to History of Magic! Last week we discussed the beginnings and development of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, which will continue this week, but in a different manner. As I touched upon in my last lesson, Rappaport’s Law enhanced the major cultural differences between the North American wizarding community and others around the world. As many of you know, there is cooperation between the magical and Muggle communities in Europe as well as with other Ministries worldwide - such as those in Asia and Africa. However, due to the segregation required by the new law, No-Majs were increasingly regarded as an enemy for their constant suspicions of anyone accused of witchcraft.
This (along with many of the other events in US history that dealt with a lack of a strong government) led to the creation of a very robust, powerful wizarding government, which we know as MACUSA. Today, we will no longer be looking at the development, but instead move onto the departments. As with most Ministries of Magic, there are the usual divisions and sections, but MACUSA also has some that are only found in the United States.
Department of Magical Law Enforcement (DMLE)
Sub-offices: Department of Aurors, Major Investigative Department, Magical Court Systems
The DMLE is the largest department found within MACUSA and acts as an umbrella for a number of other departments related to the protection of wizardkind and No-Majs.
Department of Aurors (DoA)
The function of this department is almost equal to that of their British counterparts with a few exceptions. The first is that the Department of Aurors at MACUSA functions more as a command center than it does an actual auror office. If one were to make an anatomy analogy, it is the heart, which supplies information and necessary workers to each department within the DMLE It is run by the Auror Commissioner who works with all of the chiefs to capture and protect the wizarding and No-Maj worlds from dangerous criminals. Each state within the United States has their own auror divisions run by a chief auror. Another key difference between the aurors in MACUSA to those in Britain is that they are much more militarised. The wars in America and strict guidelines when it comes to No-Maj interaction were the leading causes for the creation of an entirely magical police force: the aurors.
Major Investigative Department (MID)
This department works very closely with the Department of Aurors, but serves as more of a base of operations for the Investigative Team, which is a specially-assigned task force within the Department of Magical Security, which I’ll discuss later. Their specific goals are to investigate any and all crimes related to the violation of the ISoS. The investigators in this department have a wide array of resources available to them and are the record-keepers of all incidents, past and present.
Within this department one could find a complete record of all laws put into place by MACUSA over the centuries, maps of the United States as a whole, as well as various individual states, featuring various crime hotspots, criminal reports, evidence collection and analysis, and records of the most wanted criminals in America. I like to think of the Major Investigation Department as the brain of the operation - they have been given the power to protect the Statute of Secrecy at any cost.
Now, such a task force has received a significant amount of criticism from those who know of its existence and the extent of what magical investigators do. Aurors and members of this department are trained to do whatever necessary for the security of the North American wizarding community -- including the taking of lives or less-than humane tactics to get answers. As you can imagine that does not sit well with many, but the United States has always been far more stringent with their laws and policies regarding secrecy than Britain.
Magical Court Systems (MCS)
Unlike the British Ministry of Magic (and many other governing bodies), MACUSA is well-known for their three-tiered judicial system, one that prevents abuse of power and allows wizardkind to appeal judicial decisions on three levels if they believe the courts ruled unfairly. All cases pass through the hands of the local court systems originally. More often than not, most cases are heard and a decision is made in the local courts, but if the court is unable to obtain a majority in, it will then continue to move up to the divisional, and then federal courts if needed. Appeals regarding the decision of a case would be taken to the divisional courts so as to prevent bias in the local courts during a second ruling. The federal court’s time is typically taken up by serious matters such as treason and breaking of the ISoS.
The court aystems also housed the Wand Permit office from 1800 to 1965, following a law that made it mandatory for every witch and wizard to carry a wand permit at all times. This allowed the DMLE to keep track of all magical activity and quickly identify those who used their wands in ways that broke the ISoS. However, in 1965, this legislation was removed after concerns about privacy began in the United States and brought to this very same court, which eventually abolished the requirement for the entire populace (though wand permits are required in certain situations such as for those with prior criminal charges, persons with specific jobs, and, temporarily, immigrants to the country).
Department of Magical Security (DMS)
Different from the Auror Offices and the Major Investigative Department, these witches and wizards are tasked with concealing magic from the No-Maj community (rather than discovering it and taking action to stop it from occurring). It may sound simple, but there are people from all walks of life included in this division. For example, when Newt Scamander made his journey to North America in 1926, he accidentally released some of the magical creatures he carried with him. It was the Department of Magical Security that took care of covering up the chaos that ensued.
A further note about the DMS is that while there are many witches and wizards that work in the office itself, there are also many “plain clothes” workers. No-Majs that are injured by magical means (creatures, potions, or stay spells) are often taken to hospitals, or talk to No-Maj law enforcement officers without knowing what occurred. This means that most non-magical institutions (like police headquarters, at least one or two witches or wizards who could not only recognize magical wounds, but also treat them and prevent scrutiny. Interestingly, this line of work has a high percentage of Squibs in it, as they are best suited to bridge the gap between worlds and pose less of a security risk.
Department of No-Maj Misinformation (DNM)
Working in close cooperation with the previously mentioned departments (the DMLE, DMS, DoA) as well as the FBCV (more on them later), the individuals in this department are involved in protecting the wizarding world and upholding the Statue of Secrecy through misinformation. This department is one with the most influence in the papers. To put it another way, the DMS deals more with the “public relations” side of scuffles. There are approximately five to ten employees in every major No-Maj media outlet across the country. It is their job to make sure they report on incidents that may have involved a magical accident. For example, in 2002 there were reports of a man who had randomly appeared in a street without a leg. He was rushed to a hospital only to have nurses amazed that his leg had returned after a few hours. To us witches and wizards, this is an obvious case of Splinching, but news reporters from The Atlanta Journal were quick to spread misinformation to other news outlets, and hold off on reporting themselves even though it meant losing their story to another competitor a day before publication.
The employees of this department are not just found in the papers anymore, but also take on the role of news anchors and investigators for a plethora of No-Maj media. This ensures that on scene reports are done in a way that keeps the ISoS intact, but still gives answers to the No-Majs.
Federal Bureau of Covert Vigilance and No-Maj Obliviation (FBCVaNO)
This group of wizards detects and deals with magical contraventions in the United States. These are much like the Obliviators of the UK, but have their own office because, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the US is very serious about their security. However, some of the reason that there is a whole department devoted to all of this is because of the sheer size of the territory they must cover. As the United States is forty times the size of the United Kingdom.
You might be wondering, then, how this one office is able to perform this service for the entire United States. In reality, it’s a simple solution -- though the charms themselves are quite tricky. As needed, each office will have a number of maps and gauges to help pinpoint the number of magical incidents, the different kinds of magic used (jinxes, hexes, curses, charms, and so on), as well as various other necessary trends. The FBCVaNO has a map provided for them which allows them to triangulate reports of crime, reports of magical accidents, No-Majs on the scene, and so on. While that one is a bit complex to look at with all its variables, I will show you a simpler example of the same principal: the Real-Time Hex Indicator. This map, also known as the RTHI, is how this Department of Magical Law Enforcement keeps track of hex usage across the continent. Since hexes are considered to be a form of Dark magic, they are monitored so that no magical crimes go unnoticed. Of course… certain areas do need to be overlooked, such as any area with large amounts of magical children hidden away from the No-Maj world.
How does it work, you ask? Well, that I couldn’t tell you, but if you were to cast a hex on another individual, a green light would pop up as soon as the spell left your wand. It is then up to those monitoring it whether they need to investigate. If so, a magical investigator from the Department of Magical Security would Apparate to the location (or communicate with someone nearby in that area) to look into the issue and, if necessary, apprehend the criminal. The employees of the FBCV would follow quickly after to Obliviate any No-Majs and the DMS would clean up any magical messes left behind.
Body for Protection of Magical Species (BPMS)
Sub-offices: Agency for the Regulation of Magical Creatures, Spirit Agency, Bureau of Magical Plants and Fungi
Equivalent to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, this department focuses on the protection of magical species found in the Americas including both plants and creatures. As such, there are three different committees within this department that are important to know of.
Agency for the Regulation of Magical Creatures (ARMC)
In the past, this particular division was criticized for the inhumane regulation of magical creatures. As mentioned previously, Irene Kneedander was exposed for terrorizing sasquatches in 1892 when she injured them to prevent them from coming near No-Maj cities. After the Sasquatch Rebellion, she was quickly let go from her position and Dr. Thomas Kruikle, a trained magiveterinarian, took over the department. Under Dr. Kruikle’s leadership (and those that followed), a code of ethics was created according to which all magical creatures should be treated. Since then, there have been neither uprisings nor reports of wild abuses of power.
Spirit Agency (SA)
Even though No-Maj cannot technically see a ghost, they can have paranormal experiences with them. More commonly, this division sees and deals with poltergeists and boggarts who have gotten out of hand and decided to terrorize No-Majs. You may have heard the term haunted house. As you may have read about in tGhoul Studies, this is a very popular No-Maj belief and some even gather together to go hunt for these ghosts. To their disappointment, these expeditions are rarely successful as most spirits are asked to leave a given residence after an occurrence of any kind and previous residents are Obliviated.
Bureau of Magical Plants and Fungi (BMPF)
Then we have this bureau, which catalogs every magical plant and fungus in the Americas, its location, use, and growing requirements. It was developed in 1793 after an unfortunate accident with a No-Maj who accidentally ventured into a garden of Snargaluffs - thinking they were simply overgrown stumps of trees. Snargaluffs are vicious when provoked and their thorny vines resulted in the mutilation of the girl’s arm after she tried to sit on the plant (which, as you may know, is one of the less dire outcomes). After this mishap, the BMPF decided to document all magical plants in the Americas and witches and wizards are now required to send a list of the plants they wish to grow in their gardens for approval. Failure to abide by this rule can lead to imprisonment and/or a loss of wand for a period of time.
Department of Treasury (DoT)
Run by the Keeper of Treasure, this department’s purpose is really quite obvious, though it has a couple of nuances that are not as well known. This department is responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the wizarding community in the United States. This responsibility can take many forms, but among them the most important are advising the MACUSA president on economic and financial issues, encouraging economic growth, and fostering improved governance and protection of wizarding banks across the United States. It was actually the Department of Treasury - among others - that suggested to the President of MACUSA in 1943 that witches and wizards should be highly encouraged to be trained in a No-Maj profession that would allow the wizarding economy in the Americas to flourish. I see the confusion, let me see if I can explain.
Despite how separate the No-Maj and magical communities are, they do still occupy the same physical space, and the prosperity of one group affects the other. Thus a safe intermingling assists with this problem and boosts the wizarding economy. Originally, this idea was vetoed by President Rappaport due to the amount of interaction with No-Majs and lack of any way to change American money into Dragots and Spinks. The problem with No-Maj interaction was solved during later presidencies and reworking of the laws but it was Secretary Deschen who created the currency trade. We’ll go over this a bit more later on!
Now, the United States of America has wizarding banks across the nation in most major cities - typically the capitals of each state. These banks are often found in older buildings, but wizardspace is applied during construction and the result is beautiful banks that would make most No-Majs jealous. One of the most magnificent can be found in Los Angeles, California and is considered one of the busiest wizarding banks in the country. No time for a field trip though, I apologize!
Currency in the United States takes on two forms, the Dragot and Sprink. Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering how much smack you get for your Sickles in comparison. Well, I’m sorry to say that one Dragot is worth a little over a Galleon, a ½ Dragot worth three quarters of a Galleon (roughly 13 Sickles), a ¼ Dragot is equal to roughly three Sickles, and a Sprink is technically worth one and a half Sickles, though can be rounded up or down. To avoid this rounding, it is often exchanged for a more exact number of Knuts (roughly 43). How do you go about turning the currency in Europe into usable currency in America? Fortunately for you all, Gringotts agreed to Secretary Deschen’s proposal of the currency trade and has a stash of American currency that you can trade in your own money for US currency (whether Dragot, Sprink, or No-Maj) before you travel. When you do so, please do not quote me on my equivalences or demand more from your goblin teller! As you know, exchange rates can vary based on economic influxes, and often the exchange rate is tipped in the favor of the bank, so you will find you get less for your coinage than is quoted here.
Department of International Magical Cooperation (DIMC)
Similar to our own International Magical Cooperation department, this group works on foreign relations with other magical governments, sets standards for trade, assists in international regulations, (cauldron thickness, spellcasting component designations, etc.) and interprets and assists in enforcing international magical law. The DIMC works closely with other departments such as the DMLE and Department of Wizarding Culture, which we will discuss in a bit, to accomplish tasks on a global scale. These would include instances such as the Quidditch World Cup, Triwizard Tournament, or international magical governing bodies.
Wizarding Health and Human Services (WHHS)
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of MACUSA is the idea that there is an entire department dedicated to the health of the wizarding community. Now, a witch or wizard can go to any hospital where a magical doctor is located, but sometimes it can lead to mishaps when they get rushed to see a No-Maj doctor instead and must explain what happened to them in non-magical terms. Thankfully, there are a number of magical health clinics spread throughout the country that are fully equipped to handle any number of magical disasters. It is this department’s job to ensure those clinics are running smoothly in addition to compiling a public list of the location and names of magical doctors and clinics across the country for magical accidents.
Maintaining health by providing care is not the only concern of this department. They are also well-known for their medical research. Research for magical diseases and immunization fall under this department's jurisdiction as does the treatment of substance abuse, such as addictive potions, plants, spells, or even non-magical drugs themselves. I see a couple of surprised faces regarding what many consider to be No-Maj problems, but rest assured drug overdoses are common in the wizarding society of America as well. It is much riskier for a witch or wizard to partake in such practices as their drugs have a higher change of reacting with potions in our system. The death toll of witches and wizards involved in drugs is much higher than the No-Maj for that very reason.
Department of Magical Transportation (DMT)
Sub-offices: American Floo Network, Broomstick Regulation Committee, Portkey Authority, Apparition Advisory Division, Magical Aviation, Sea, and Automobile Administration
The second largest department in MACUSA, second only to the DMLE, this group of individuals is concerned with all forms of wizarding transportation. I’m only going to touch upon a few of the sub departments within, but the others include the Broomstick Regulation Committee, Portkey Authority, and Apparition Advisory Division.
American Floo Network (AFN)
The overall workings of the Floo Network in the United States are very similar to those in Britain. The travel is still uncomfortable, but it’s a better way to travel for those with children and elderly in their family. The biggest difference is that the Floo Network in the U.S. is divided into two separate networks that connect at large cities across the United States. Originally, these two separate Floo Networks were secret and created by witches and wizards in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War from 1861 to 1863 in order to get messages between camps much faster than would have occurred by foot or horse. MACUSA did catch wind of these activities and swiftly shut down the networks for fear of exposure to the No-Maj world. While President Rappaport had not directly condemned wizardkind’s involvement in wars, she had forbidden the use of any magic that put the ISoS at risk. In 1873, the Floo Networks were reopened and conjoined at the major cities you can see in the map above. The floo networks in America is considered one of the greatest achievements of MACUSA as there are over 100 billion connections in North America alone.
Magical Aviation, Sea, and Automobile Administration (MASAA)
Entirely unique to MACUSA is this subdepartment within magical transportation. Seeing as most of America is made up of half-bloods or Muggle-born wizards, it should come as no surprise that most of the wizarding community involved in engineering has attempted to come up with ways to incorporate magic into No-Maj technology and they have been fairly successful, with the occasional setbacks. At the moment, MACUSA has approximately 20 different brands of magical cars, and prototypes for airplanes and boats. As you should know either from experience or stories, magic and technology do not mix. They never have, but magical engineers in America have done their best to try and prove otherwise.
Department of Magical Education (DoME)
To me, magical education departments across the globe appear very similar. The primary functions of this department are to establish educational policy for the wizarding population in America, collect data on wizarding institutions, coordinate government assistance to magical education, and enforce educational laws. Now, all of these regulations are federally based and often compared with other Ministries to ensure international collaboration. However, there is no regulation of what the schools must teach, as educators have put their foot down very strongly when it came to regulating their curriculum. Thus, while the DME has no say in the comings and goings of the schools themselves, it does require them to meet the federally upheld standards.
Department of Unidentifiable Magical Objects (DUMO)
While some of you may think the name gives it away, this department is actually a bit more secretive than the others. While they do take magical items with an unknown purpose and dispose of them appropriately, the department also has researchers and funds that they dispense across the country for research. To this day, I have been unable to find out exactly what it is they do there, secrets and all, but they’ve compared themselves to the Department of Mysteries many times during my inquiries, so I suppose we could just leave it at that.
However, some suggest that this group is actually in charge of attempting to discover and communicate with other lifeforms in the universe (if they exist) before the No-Majs do, as they feel it might be a matter of great importance to have first contact in order to explain the need to keep our abilities a secret. Some of the more outrageous suggest that they have already made such contact and are covering it up from not only No-Majs, but magical civilians outside of the MACUSA and the various ministries as well.
But, I’m afraid that is all I have time for today! Thank you for being so attentive, though I know many of these departments are difficult to keep straight. Next week, we will be switching topics to cover magical education in the Americas. For this lesson, you have one essay to complete before I see you again. Have a good week!