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   Chapter 95 1803).

Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 2198

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: Jefferson's principles.]

In a few weeks the disposition to conciliate was severely tried by the pressure of applicants for office. Jefferson's principles on this subject were summed up in a letter written March 24, 1801: "I will expunge the effects of Mr. A.'s indecent conduct in crowding nominations after he knew they were not for himself…. Some removals must be made for misconduct…. Of the thousands of officers, therefore, in the United States a very few individuals only, probably not twenty, will be removed: and these only for doing what they ought not to have done." Gallatin heartily supported him in this policy of moderation. Jefferson then laid down the additional principle that he would fill all vacancies with Republicans until the number of officeholders from each party was about equal. "That done, I shall return with joy to that state of things when the only questions concerning a candidate shall be, Is he honest? Is he capable? Is he faithful to the Constitution?"

[Sidenote: Political removals.]

Adams was promptly rebuked by the removal of twenty-four p

ersons appointed in the two months previous. Other removals were made for what would now be called "offensive partisanship." Then came a third group of removals, in order, as Jefferson said, "to make some room for some participation for the Republicans." At the time he acknowledged that there had been sixteen cases,-in fact, there were many more; at the end of about two years after his inauguration, out of 334 officers occupying important places, 178 were new appointments, and of their predecessors at least 99 had been removed. These officers in many cases carried with them a staff of subordinates. It is safe to say that one half the persons who had been in the civil service of the United States in March, 1801, were out of it in March, 1805.

[Sidenote: Appointments.]

Nor did Jefferson adhere to his purpose to appoint Federalists and Republicans indiscriminately after the balance should have been reached. He appointed none but members of his own party; many Federalists in office came over to the Republicans; and by 1809 the civil service was practically filled with Republicans.

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