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Theodore Roosevelt; An Intimate Biography
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at last roused the sense of humor of some of our
citizens, just as the injustice and dishonesty which the system
embodied roused the moral sense of others; and the Reform of the
Civil Service--a dream at first, and then a passionate cause
which the ethical would not let sleep--came into being. But to
the politicians of the old type, the men of "inflooence" and
"pull," the project seemed silly. They ridiculed it, and they
expected to make it ridiculous in the eyes of the American
people, by calling it "Snivel" Service Reform. Zealots, however,
cannot be silenced by mockery. The contention that fitness should
have something to do in the choice of public servants was
effectively confirmed by the scientific departments of the
government. The most shameless Senator would not dare to propose
his brother's widow to lead an astronomical expedition, or to
urge the appointment of the ward Boss of his city as Chairman of
the Coast Survey. So the American people perceived that there
were cases in which the Spoils System did not apply. The
reformers pushed ahead; Congress at last took notice, and a law
was passed bringing a good many appointees in the Post Office and
other departments under the Merit System. The movement then
gained ground slowly and the spoilsmen began to foresee that if
it spread to the extent which seemed likely, it would deprive
them of much of their clandestine and corrupting power. Senator
Roscoe Conkling, one of the wittiest and most brazen of these,
remarked, that when Dr. Johnson told Boswell that "patriotism is
the last refuge of a scoundrel," he had not sounded the
possibilities of "reform."

The first administration of President
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Theodore Roosevelt; An Intimate Biography. Family Tree Legends Records Collection (Online Database). Pearl Street Software, 2004-2005. Theodore Roosevelt; An Intimate Biography. Thayer, William Roscoe.