The Public Service and University Education

The Public Service and University Education

The Public Service and University Education

The Public Service and University Education

Excerpt

"Young man, won't you learn a lesson in the primer of politics that it is a prima facie evidence of littleness to hold office under our form of government? Great men get into office sometimes, but what this country needs is men that will do what we tell them to do. . . . If the great men in America took our offices, we would change to an empire in the next ten years." Such was a theme of an itinerant preacher of the 1890's, who, in his favorite sermon, Acres of Diamonds, extolled the virtues of money-making and, conversely, condemned the idea of public service. A generation after the McKinley era, an acute observer, Charles Merriam, noted that, with the exception of the first generation of our national existence, "American public life has suffered severely from the lack of a tradition of public service on the part of men of wealth and leisure." In the intervening years, however, great crises--internal and external--have dramatized the challenge of public service and have attracted able men and women--including some of wealth and leisure-- to government service.

This challenge of public service has quickened with the expanding role of government. The federal government's assumption during the past decade and a half of a more positive role in the domestic economy and the current tentative beginnings of international government have thrust unprecedented burdens upon those who administer the public's business. Government personnel has become a paramount consideration in the increasingly important administrative process, which is today . . .

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