The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.XXI. Political Writing Since 1850
§ 19. Civil Service Reform
The spoils system had long characterized office holding in the United States. Shortly after 1865 certain general influences made possible the agitation for efficiency and merit in the patronage. Among these were the revelations of inefficiency in the conduct of the war, the conflict between Andrew Johnson and Congress over control of the patronage, and examples of corruption in contemporary life. Especially did the activities of the Tweed Ring, ridiculed in the celebrated cartoons of Thomas Nast, create a sense of revolt against the existing order.