Congressional aide speaks on civil service reform, 1867
. . . There is hardly a civilized country without a system of examination and promotion in the dispensation of its public offices.
Ours is probably the only country in the world where it does not exist in the civil service, though it exists in our military and naval service, the stringent discipline and efficiency of which are well known to all Americans. . . .
Another argument against the reform of the present chaos is the fear of a permanent bureaucracy, and of the anti-republican tendencies of such permanent institutions. We entertain no such apprehensions. A permanent bureaucracy is only dangerous when it is incompetent and practically irresponsible. We have already shown to what a great degree our service is now practically irresponsible, and we will proceed to show that it is a permanent institution, that we actually now have a permanent bureaucracy. . . .
The United States have gone through a formidable convulsion, the outbreak of which was fomented to a great extent by wrong men in wrong places; by faithless and reckless public officers at home and abroad; by a demoralization of the public service, which was at the same time the cause and the effect of treasonable practices and debasement of appointments to public offices to the vilest uses. The moral atmosphere of the land is now gradually clearing up. The destructive era is drawing to a close, and the constructive era is beginning to dawn. We have purged our civilization from the degrading system of slavery. We are now impelled, by all the considerations which are sacred to the lover of his country's fame, to complete this task by reforming those evils in the public service of the country that grew up to a great extent under the fatal influence of sham - Democratic and Slave-State supremacy.