Civil service political cartoon   Save
Rutherford B. Hayes Cartoon Collection
Description: This cartoon shows President Rutherford B. Hayes, in office 1877-1881, leaving a baby on the doorstep of his successor, James Garfield, who has answered the door in his pajamas. The baby is identified as Civil Service Reform. Hayes sneaks away, looking over his shoulder and carrying a suitcase labeled "Savings" which he is taking back to his hometown of Fremont, Ohio. Prior to the Hayes administration, civil service posts within federal, state, and local governments were commonly awarded on the basis of party affiliation rather than merit. The reform of this practice was a key issue of concern for the Progressives. As president, Hayes had attempted to institute civil service reforms that would have required appointments to be based on merit. As a result, he angered many in his own Republican party. Hayes's efforts to reform the civil service were unfinished when his one term as president expired, leaving the problem for President Garfield, as referred to by the cartoon. Later in 1881, President Garfield was assassinated by a disappointed office-seeker. This encouraged Congress to finally pass a civil service reform bill, the Pendelton Act, in 1883. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: CA6_F01_01
Subjects: Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881; Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, 1822-1893; Civil service reform; Political culture--Ohio--History; Presidents--United States;
Places: Rutherford B. Hayes Cartoon Collection