Friday, July 7, 2017

503. The United States Develops out of West and East Civilizations


I have written this blog for over ten years. Readers of it are from all over the world. From Dr. Dave Wang's pioneering reseach they have learned historical fact that the founders of this nation draw positive elements from Chinese civilization and used the elements tireless in their efforts to create the new nation in north America.
I have to point out that it is impossible for anyone to ignore influence and contributions of Chinese civilzation on the development of the United States. It is a hard fact that the United States came into being not only because of West but also Chinese civilization. For exmaple, it was the Chinese merit system in selecting public civil servants that helped lifting the United States out from the century of corruption.


The acceptance of the Confucian merit system changed the history of the United States. To assume the merit system “is not merely a mode of procedure and an economy, but has become a vital question of principle and public morality, involving the counterpoise and in no small degree the stability of the government itself.”[1] The merit system elevated the United States up to “a new and higher standard in official life.”[2] It has been recognized that the adoption of the Pendleton Act “amounted to nothing less than [a] recasting of the foundations of national institutional power.”[3]
It was impossible to build a democratic society on the foundations of the Spoils System. When applied to American politics, the Spoils System caused tremendous turnover of federal employees with every new presidency in the White House. Public employees were chosen based on party affiliation rather than on their knowledge and dedication to their positions. As President Theodore Roosevelt aptly said, the spoils system “was more fruitful of degradation in our political life than any other that could have possibly been invented. The spoils monger, the man who peddled patronage, inevitably bred the vote-buyer, the vote-seller, and the man guilty of misfeasance in office."[4]
It took a great, combined effort to eliminate the Spoils System and return the United States to the democratic roots that Benjamin Franklin had originally envisioned. During America’s Century of Corruption, many presidents struggled with the inefficiencies of the system as well as disgruntled supporters who were denied government positions. Thomas Jefferson suffered a permanent blow to his reputation when he denied James Callender; James Garfield lost his life when he rejected Charles Guiteau. The civil service reform movement elevated the status of president beyond that of a “petty job broker” and restored faith in the nation’s founding principles by allowing any qualified person to serve his or her country.




[1] Dorman B. Eaton, Civil Service in Great Britain: A History of Abuse and Reforms and Their Bearing Upon American Politics, New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1880, p.438.
[2] Ibid.,  p.VI.
[3] Stephen Skowronek, Building a New American State: The Expansion of National Administrative
Capacities, 1877-1920,  New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982, p.67.
[4] Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. Civil Service Commissioner, in a letter dated February 8, 1895.
[5] Thomas Jenckes, The Civil Service Report, p.124

 

1 comment:

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