Oligarchs: The Rise And Fall Of The Pendleton Civil Service Act

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The Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883 was enacted after the untimely death of a beloved president. President James A. Garfield untimely death came at the hands of a disillusioned and resentful job seeking man in Charles Guiteau. It was the second time in twenty years following the American Civil War that a president fell victim to an assassin. As a result, members of congress, along with senator George H. Pendleton of Ohio, and President Chester A. Arthur pushed for more aggressive reforms that would end a systematic spoils systems that threatened the institution of governing. The passing of The Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883 made it more difficult for individuals who did not have the skills or the …show more content…

The inequality in wealth was evident and by the early 1880s it had grown exponentially. The influence the oligarchs had on the political system jeopardized the country’s wealth and democracy. Democracy was jeopardized by the spoils system that the oligarchs propagated, this was a practice that became a common occurrence when a new administration took office, and it was a practice that had been around since George Washington’s first presidency. By the time President James A. Garfield took office it was well known and evident by his colleagues the president had appointments to …show more content…

Charles Guiteau had no relations with President Garfield’s cabinet nor was he an oligarch, Charles Guiteau was a disillusioned wanderer. Charles Guiteau was a confused individual who saw himself above others and he saw himself as deserving of an governmental appointment. He was an aimless wanderer who lived from one boarding house to another usually exiting these homes late at night without paying his dues. He was a man who felt the world owed him a living be it by preaching the word of God or the by preaching the word of politics; experience in politics he had none. A A few years prior to assassinating President Garfield he proclaimed “If I cannot get notoriety for good, I will get it for evil” (Peskin, 1977, p.132). He was a constant burden at the White House, day after day eagerly awaiting behind a line of appointment seekers, patiently waiting and loudly presenting his speech that he had written for President Garfield during his campaign, the same speech he had written for former President Grant. As weeks went by after his brief meeting with President Garfield, and not hearing a reply about his desired appointment, Charles Guiteau shot President Garfield in the back at “The Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station” (Peskin, 1977, p.138). Five months after the shooting President Garfield died from his wounds, thus, the enactment of The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 was

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