Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/372

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Political Writing Since 1850

what was still to be done, enlightening public sentiment, encouraging his fellow-labourers and distributing with even-handed justice, praise and reproof among the political parties as they deserved it." Other early leaders of the cause were Dorman B. Eaton, whose Civil Government in Great Britain (1880) ranks with Jenckes's report in the literature of the reform movement; Carl Schurz, Curtis's successor as head of the Civil Service Reform League and champion of the movement in the President's cabinet; Andrew D. White[1] and Charles W. Eliot, presidents of Cornell and Harvard; and a group of young politicians, among whom were Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge. Soon the attitude toward civil service reform became the test of executive independence.

Hayes was notable for the aid he rendered it, while Cleveland's declaration "Public office is a public trust" won for him wide popularity. The principle involved, that efficiency and merit rather than party loyalty should be the standard for public office, aroused the interest of the intellectual class as had no other issue except that of slavery. It caused thousands to break party lines and played a great part in the rise to power of the independent vote.

The movement for tariff reform paralleled and, in many respects, was similar to that for civil service reform. Just as the existing political machines were wedded to the spoils system, the Republican party was identified with the policy of protection. It had won the election of 1860 very largely on that issue, had put the policy into practice during the war, and after the conflict continued it. The result was a period of exploitation of natural resources, great increase in manufacturing, alternating periods of speculation and trade depression due to displacement of capital, and special privileges for special interests. Leadership and protest came to a large extent from the class from which came the early agitation for civil service reform—the intellectuals. The pioneer was David A. Wells,[2] chairman of the Revenue Commission which made recommendations for a readjustment of national finances from a war to a peace basis. His examination of conditions in the United States caused a radical reaction in his views; from a protectionist he became a violent anti-protectionist. His report to Congress in 1870 was

  1. See Book III, Chap. XV.
  2. See Book III, Chap. XXIV.