THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE SPOILS
To Platt the distribution of the spoils of public office was a serious business. At times he seemed to be more concerned with the "equitable" allotment of the political patronage than he was with his own private affairs. Roosevelt viewed the spoils system with an air of amused tolerance, especially as it concerned appointments. As civil service commissioner, Roosevelt fought the spoilsman hard, but as governor of New York and later as president of the United States he did not try strenuously to "wreck the organization" by drying up the sources of its power as he might have done. Roosevelt concerned himself with large matters which attracted public attention, while Platt was concerned with the minute details of the system of party rewards and punishments.
It is difficult to ascertain just what Platt's part was in the distribution of local rewards to the petty politicians. It is even more difficult to determine Roosevelt's relation to the patronage system. The centralization of control over the party machinery through the hierarchy of party committees made it necessary for the local leaders to "consult" those higher up when they desired favors from the state and national governments, but in local matters they were usually allowed a free hand. As long as a local leader carried his district, the state committee did not pry too closely into his affairs. On the other hand, local elections as well as state