Roosevelt the Reformer: Theodore Roosevelt as Civil Service Commissioner, 1889-1895

By Richard D. White Jr. | Go to book overview

6
1894
Building the Merit System

THE COLD, GLOOMY rain that fell upon Washington on Sunday, January 7, 1894, kept the Roosevelt family cooped up in their frame house on Nineteenth Street. Theodore wanted to take the children to nearby Rock Creek for a day of hiking and climbing on the rocks, but the soggy weather kept him and his "bunnies" inside. Instead, he told them Indian stories and pretended he was a bear, crawling about the house on all fours and scaring the little ones.1 Theodore loved watching his children grow. In another month, Alice, a lovely young girl with flaxen curls cascading down her back, would turn ten. Ted Jr., now in spectacles like his father, was six. Kermit, dressed in Victorian ruffles, was four, and Ethel, a cherubic two. Edith, six months pregnant, tried vainly to ride herd over her unruly children and "the oldest and rather worst child," her husband.2

A Sunday romp at home with his children provided a welcome break for Theodore. He worked as busily as ever that winter, kept at his office until after five every day, and felt "very plethoric and lazy in consequence of lack of exercise."3 Occasionally Edith bundled up the children and, to the delight of Theodore and the clerks, unexpectedly dropped by the commission offices. Alice sat on one side of his desk and Ted Jr. on the other, while the two infants cuddled on their father's lap. On occasion, Ted Jr. dove into the office's wastebaskets in search of canceled postage stamps.4

Roosevelt, however, had little time to frolic with his children. Most of his time was spent at the commission, skirmishing with opponents of

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Roosevelt the Reformer: Theodore Roosevelt as Civil Service Commissioner, 1889-1895
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Roosevelt the Reformer ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: 1889 Arriving in Washington 7
  • 2: 1890 Attacked from All Quarters 35
  • 3: 1891 Building Valuable Friendships 54
  • 4: 1892 Making Progress in Civil Service Reform 79
  • 5: 1893 Reappointment by the Democrats 97
  • 6: 1894 Building the Merit System 119
  • 7: 1895 Returning to New York 141
  • 8: 1901 Continuing Reform as President 160
  • Epilogue - 1916 Rapprochement 184
  • Appendix 189
  • Notes on Sources 203
  • Notes 207
  • Bibliography 241
  • Acknowledgments 253
  • Index 255
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