The Spoils System and Administration.— The spoils system does not necessarily mean bad administration. Its uncertainties deter men of conservative tendencies from entering gov ernment employ ; but the opportunities of sudden and distinguished advancement attract men of adventurous character, and undoubtedly so far in our history this latter class has contained the greater part of the ability of the nation. It is not to be supposed, moreover, that the whole service has ever been changed at any single proscription. William Hunter entered the State Department in 1829 and served until 1886, pre serving the continuity of tradition and becoming a power in the State by reason of his experience. He is a type of a large class of permanent offi cials, who have on their shoulders the weight of routine business. Often it is easy to dis tinguish between two distinct classes of officers, the one working at government duties and the other attending to politics. Of course this double system is expensive, because of the un necessary number employed and the fact that the class of men attracted while able are not always honest; but it need not be inefficient.
Rotation in Office.— While the rise of the spoils system is so closely connected with the rise of the new democracy, and its organization was soon completed, there are several significant episodes in its later history. The system had been justified before the public largely by the democratical phrase in office.) For a long time, however, actual rotation was prac tised only when the incoming President belonged to a different party from his predecessor. Bu chanan was the first President to expel men of his own party. It was then held that the public offices were prizes, and that democracy demanded that they be shared round as often as possible, that no one should hold longer than four years. Consistency required that a Presi dent who wa.. re-elected decapitate his own ap pointees, and this policy was urged on Lincoln in 1865. He firmly set his face against the sug gestion, and it has never been carried out. Bu chanan's example, however, was followed until Roosevelt succeeded McKinley.
The Spoils System and the The seaboard South was for a long time compara tively free from the spoils system. Jefferson stated, not quite truly, that he had no requests for removals from that region. The dislike for the New York machine did much to pro mote the formation of the Whig party there, and Calhoun was not more emphatic in his support of slavery than in his deniand for re form in politics. This immunity was largely due to the political conditions, the fact that politics was the business of the wealthy and that the public offices were not needed to sup port party organization. The Civil War and Reconstruction brought a total change. The attempt to build up a stable Republican organi zation composed of moneyless negroes and money-seeking white men from the North in volved necessarily the use of public offices, both State and national, as spoils. After the over throw of the negro domination, this organiza tion was still maintained by the use of the national spoils, because of the votes it could cast in national nominating conventions. In the Democratic party, the wealthier class gradually lost its control, and the rise of a real democ racy has been again marked by the adoption of the spoils system, which may be said now to embrace the whole country.
The Spoils System and Civil Service Re At the very time that the spoils system was being extended into the South, it received a vigorous attack in the development of civil service reform. It was natural that such a movement should come when the Civil War had so greatly distended the civil service. The
method of reform proposed was the substitu tion of a mechanical for a personal method of • appointment. It was claimed by the supporters of the status quo -that no mechanical system could be devised which could properly take into account a man's ability to perform the func tions of his office. The reformers claimed that such a system was possible, that offices must be withdrawn from politics and that this could be done only by eliminating the personal ele ment. The conduct of private business was improving and the expert was beginning to play his part as the life of the nation became at the same time more complex and more orderly. In 1883, after an earnest crusade, Congress voted that the experiment be made. The law has received the support, more or less earnest, of every President since that time, and has been extended, officially or by practice, to in clude the greater number of officers in the national civil service. In fact since the inclu sion of the fourth class postmasters by Taft, and the virtual inclusion of the consular service by Wilson, comparatively few offices remain which could properly be placed under the me chanical system of selection. Most State and 'city governments, moreover, have followed the national example. Not that the spoils system has vanished. The pressure on those portions of the service not covered by the law has increased, and the law is often circumvented. Nevertheless the bulk of our public servants are as secure in their positions as are those in private life, and their only political obligation is to refrain from political activity, not to exert themselves in it. The public service, moreover, is conducted with a reasonably high degree of efficiency.
It should not be overlooked, however, that the problem of which the spoils system was a crude and dangerous solution has not yet been satisfactorily solved. In fact just when the offices first began to be withdrawn from poli tics the expenses of party organization greatly increased. The necessary funds were furnished in large measure by the campaign contributions of great corporations and powerful individuals interested in securing or defeating legislation. This is one of the fundamental explanations of the course of politics in the '80s, '90s and the early 20th century. Meantime all other meth ods have been evolved, as the statutory limi tation of campaign expenses and the taking over of party primaries, with the consequent expense, by the government, while widespread popular contributions and publicity of expenses have decreased the importance of the individ ual subscribers. At present all these methods are employed, and party control has become less concentrated. It is still uncertain what the final method by which democracy will main tain control without too seriously interfering with the efficiency of administration will be.
Beard, C. A., 'American Government and Politics) (1911) - Borgeaud, C., 'Rise of Modern Democracy' (1894) ; Cleve land, F. A., 'Growth of Democracy in the United (1898) ; Croly, H., 'Promise of American Life) (1909) ; Eaton, D. B., 'Civil Service in Great Britain) (1880) ; Fish, C. R., 'Civil Service and the Patronage) (1905); Hart, A. B., 'Actual Government) (1903); Jones, W. D., 'Mirror of Modern (1864); McBain, H. L., Witt Clinton and the Origin of the Spoils System in New York' "(1907); Ostragorski, M., 'Democracy and the Party System) (1910) • Roosevelt, T., 'Six Years of Civil Service Reform) in 'American Ideals and Other Essays) (1897) ; Tyler, L. G., 'Parties and Patronage) (1891) ; Weyl, W. E, The New Democracy) (1911).