« EdellinenJatka »
ACCORDING to the Constitution of the United States, the President has the power to veto bills passed by Congress, but such bills may be passed over the veto and become a law by a two-thirds vote of the members present of each branch of Congress. The first exercise of the veto power was by Washington, April 5, 1792. There had been but nine vetoes up to 1839; two by Washington; none by Adams and Jefferson; six by Madison and one by Monroe. Madison vetoed the bill to establish a United States Bank, Jan. 30, 1815; the Internal Improvement bill, March 3, 1817, and the Cumberland Road bill, May 4, 1822. Jackson vetoed nine bills: Clay's Distribution Bill (after giving it a pocket veto at the preceding session), December 5, 1833. A New United States Bank bill, July 10, 1832; for fixing a day for the Meeting of Congress bill, June 10, 1836, and the other vetoes were put upon Internal Improvement bills. During Tyler's administration, he vetoed two United States Bank bills, August 16 and September 9, 1841; two tariff bills, June 29, and August 9, 1842; a bill for Harbor Improvements in Eastern States, June 11, 1844, and a bill for building two revenue cutters, Feb. 20, 1845. Polk vetoed two bills: a River and Harbor bill, August 3, 1846, and a bill for the settlement of French Spoliation claims, Aug. 8, 1846. An Internal Improvement bill, passed March 3, 1847, which had been disposed of by a pocket veto, was formally vetoed at the following session, Dec. 15, 1847. Pierce vetoed nine bills: on a bill appropriating land for the insane poor, May 13, 1854; an Internal Improvement bill, August 4, 1854; a French Spoliation Claims bill, Feb. 17, 1855; and appropriation for the Collins Ocean Mail Steamers, March 3, 1855; two special Internal Improvement bills, May 19, 1856, another May 22, and two others, August 11 and August 14. Buchanan vetoed a Homestead Bill, June 22, 1860 (caused by the very low figure of reduction of public lands to 25 cents per acre). Lincoln, a bill to allow the circulation of bank notes of less than $5 value in the District of Columbia, July 12, 1862. During 1866 there were vetoes of the first Freedmen's Bureau bill, Feb. 19; of the Civil Rights bill, March 27; of the Colorado bill, May 15, and of the second Freedmen's Bureau bill, July 16. On the adoption of the 14th amendment a message was sent to Congress, suggesting "grave doubts" as to the power of Congress to frame an amendment while eleven states were refused representation. In 1867 there were vetoes of the bill, Jan. 5, regulating suffrage in the District of Columbia; of the second Colorado bill, Jan. 29; of the Nebraska bill, Jan. 30; of the Tenure of Office bill, March 2; of the Reconstruction Bill, March 2, and of the sup plementary Reconstruction Bills, March 23, and July 19. In 1868 there were the vetoes of the bills regulating appeals on Habeas Corpus, March 25; of the bills for the readmission of Arkansas, June 20; North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, June 25; and of the joint resolution denying validity to the electoral votes of reconstructed States. Two bills that had been "pocketed" by his predecessor and again passed, were signed by President Grant. Grant's two vetoes were those to increase the amount of "Greenbacks" to $400,000,000, and to authorize the issue of $46,000,000 in national bank notes, April 22, 1874; and the bill to repeal the increase of the President's salary to $50,000, April 19, 1876. President Hayes vetoed a number of bills and among them were: the bill to authorize the coinage of silver dollars, Feb. 23, 1878; the bill to restrict Chinese immigration, March 1, 1879; and the bill to fund $700,000,000 of the national debt at 3 per cent., March 3, 1881. President Arthur vetoed a bill to restrict Chinese immigration, also a River and Harbor bill of about $20,000,000, during 1882.
*For any further notes on this subject, up to the moment of going to press, Addenda, preceding Index.
THE headquarters of the Civil Service Commission is at the City Hall, Washington, D. C. The Commissioners are: President, Charles Lyman, of Connecticut; Theodore Roosevelt, of New York and Hugh S. Thompson, of South Carolina. Chief Examiner, William H. Webster; Secretary, John T. Doyle.
The Civil Service Bill was drawn by Dorman B. Eaton, Esq., of New York (afterward one of the Commissioners) and was presented in the United States Senate by Senator Pendleton, of Ohio. It passed the Senate after considerable debate and after several amendments had been made to it; and the House, under a suspension of the rules without debate, January 16, 1883. It was approved by President Arthur, and went into effect July 16, 1883.
THE PURPOSE OF THE BILL.
As declared in the title of the bill, its purpose is "to regulate and improve the Civil Service of the United States." It makes it the duty of the Commission to aid the President as he may request in preparing suitable rules for carrying the Act into effect; to make regulations for and control the examinations provided for, and supervise and control the records of the same; and to make investigations and report upon all matters touching the enforcement and effect of the rules and regulations.
THE CLASSIFIED SERVICE.
There are about 32,000 places in the Classified Departmental Service, embracing all places in the Departments at Washington, excepting messengers, laborers, workmen and watchmen (not including any person designated as a skilled laborer or workman) and no person so employed can, without examination under the rules, be assigned to clerical duty, and also excepting those appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Classified Customs Service embraces the customs districts where the officials are as many as fifty (50), including the places giving $900 a year, and all those giving a larger salary where the applicant is not subject to confirmation by the Senate. The Classified Postal Service embraces the Postoffice where the officials are as many as fifty (50), including all places above the grade of a laborer. The Postal Railway Service also comes within the Classified Service.
Special examinations are held for places in the Classified Service, where technical additional qualifications are needed. In the Departmental Service they are held for the State Department, the Pension, Patent and Signal offices, Geological and Coast Surveys, and other offices.
PERSONS EXCEPTED FROM EXAMINATIONS.
Persons excepted from examination for appointment are: Clerks of heads of departments or offices; Cashiers of Collectors and Postmasters; Superintendents of Money Order Divisions in Post-offices; Custodians of Money, for whose fidelity another officer is under bond; Disbursing Officers who give bonds; persons in the Secret Service; Deputy Collectors and Superintendents and Chiefs of Divisions or Bureaus, and others.
APPLICATIONS AND EXAMINATIONS.
Applicants for examinations must be citizens of the United States of the proper age. No person habitually using intoxicating liquors can be appointed. No discrimination is made on account of sex, color, or political or religious opinions. The limitations of age are as follows: For the Departmental Service, not under twenty years; in the Customs Service, not under twenty-one years, except clerks or messengers, who must not be under twenty years; in the Postal Service, not under eighteen years, except messengers, stampers, and other junior assistants, who must not be under sixteen or over forty-five years, and carriers, who must not be under twenty-one or over forty; and in the Railway Mail Service, not under eighteen or over thirty-five years. The age limitations do not apply to any person honorably discharged from the Military or Naval Service of the United States, by reason of disability resulting from wounds or sickness incurred in the line of duty. Such persons are preferred under Section 1,754 R. S. Every one seeking an examination must first file an application blank. The Blank for the Departmental or Postal Railway Service should be requested directly from the Civil Service Commission, at Washington. The blank for the Customs or Postal Service must be requested in writing by the persons desiring examination of the Customs or Postal Board of Examiners at the Office where service is sought. These papers should be returned to the offices from which they emanated. Persons passing an examination are graded and registered. The Commission give a certificate to the person stating whether he or she passed or failed to pass. The Clerk examination is used only in the Departinental and Customs Services for clerkships of $1,000 and upward, requiring no peculiar information or skill. It is limited to the following subjects: First, orthography, penmanship and copying; second, arithmetic-fundamental rules, fractions and percentage; third, interest, discount and elements of bookkeeping and of accounts; fourth, elements of the English language, letter writing and the proper construction of sentences; fifth, elements of the geography, history and government of the United States.
For places in which a lower degree of education suffices, as for employees in post-offices and those below the grade of clerks in custom-houses and in the departments at Washington, the Commission limits the examination to less than these five subjects, omitting the third and parts of the fourth and fifth subjects; and this is known as the examination for copyists.
REQUISITES FOR APPOINTMENT.
No one is certified for appointment whose standing upon a just grading in the clerk or copyist examination is less than 70 per centum of complete proficiency, except that applicants claiming military or naval preference under Section 1,754 R. S. need obtain but 65. The law also prescribes competitive examinations to test the fitness of persons in the Service, for promotion therein.
CIVIL SERVICE REFORM.
The purposes of Civil Service Reform are twofold: The removal of abuses in the public service-Federal, State and Municipal; and the develop ment of such a public opinion, and adoption of such methods for doing the work of public administration, as will be effective for purity, efficiency and economy. In other words, the correction of such abuses as the Spoils System, political assessments, removals, patronage, promotions, tenure of office, The subject of Civil Service Reform has only thus far been treated in matters which pertain almost exclusively to the Executive Department of the government, the number of officers of which, filled by appointment, are
about 100,000. "A complete Civil Service Reform would have to deal directly with abuses connected with our elections, our legislation and our elective and partisan judiciary. A thorough Civil Service Reform, by leaving few offices to be filled by favor or to be won as spoils, would effectively suppress bribery at elections through the promises of places and appointments. It would also leave but little opportunity for Members of Congress or of Legislatures to barter places for votes, or to coerce executive appointments in their own interest. It would determine the bestowal of nearly all the official places which have been at once the capital of the partisan chieftain and the fuel of his machine. Though penal and prohibitory laws are in their nature but imperfect and inadequate agencies of reform, yet with reasonable support from public opinion, they may be made highly beneficial. Intrinsically, there is no reason why a wise law, in aid of a good administration, shall not be as effective as any of the numerous wise laws in aid of good morals."
President Madison held that "the wilful removal of officials known to be worthy and the wilful appointment of those known to be unworthy, for mere personal or partisan reasons, would justly subject an officer to impeachment;" and President Cleveland declared that "public office was a public trust.' Jackson declared in a message, that " Every citizen has an equal right to office;" but per contra Civil Service Reform proposes that he who is best qualified-who can and will serve the people most usefully--has the highest claim; and it is the duty of those having authority, to appoint or elect him rather than any other applicant. "Experience in official duties increases the capacity to perform them well; and, as a general rule, increases the probability that they will be best performed by the officer so long as his mental and physical abilities remain unimpaired. The right and interest of the people to have the public work well done are paramount to the claim of any citizen to an official place or of any party to have its favorites in office; and, therefore, any theory of short terms or rotation in office, which would turn out experienced and efficient public servants in order to make places for fresh claimants, is disastrous to the public interest. The man among the applicants having the highest claim to office can only be ascertained by his proper examination in comparison with others. To refuse that examination is to do injustice to the most meritorious."
THE Grand Army of the Republic was instituted and organized at the close of the Civil War, and is composed of soldiers, sailors and marines, who had been honorably discharged when hostilities were practically ended by the surrender of General Lee to General Grant at Appomattox. It is a fraternal and charitable association, and has numerous Posts in all parts of the United States. There is a National Encampment, and State Departments. The widows and children of deceased comrades who are in adverse circumstances are looked after and cared for by committees appointed by the respective Posts. The motto of the order is, "Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty." As a social organization the Grand Army have their camp-fires, and frequently. give musical and literary entertainments, at which the wives and daughters of the members take a prominent part, and which are much enjoyed by the general public. In the halls of the Posts are displayed memorials of the war, such as weapons, tattered flags, etc. The custom of strewing the graves of deceased comrades on each annual occurrence of May 30 was first suggested, as stated, by General John A. Logan. The day is always marked by a parade of the G. A. R. Posts, escorted at times by the regular U. S. Army troops. At the various cemeteries musical exercises are held, and orations, depicting the valorous and self-sacrificing deeds of the departed warriors, delivered. In some cities business is entirely suspended on Decoration or Memorial Day as a mark of respect to both the surviving and dead soldiers who partici pated in what has been called "the little unpleasantness." The election of commanders and subordinates of departments is always entered into with much activity, interest and zeal.
John Palmer, Albany, N. Y.
S.Vice-Com. H. M. Duffield, Detroit, Mich. | Surgeon-Gen. B. F. Stevenson, Visalia, Ky. J. Vice-Com.T. S. Clarkson, Omaha, Neb. | Chap.-in-Ch. S. B. Paine, St. Augustine, Fla.
Adjutant-Gen. F.Phisterer, Albany, N.Y. | Inspector-Gen...J. F. Pratt, E. Orange,N. J. Quartermaster-Gen. J. Taylor, Phila., Pa. | Judge Adv.-Gen..J. W. O'Neall, Lebanon,O. The National Council of Administration has 44 members, each department being represented by one member.
The first post of the Grand Army was organized at Decatur, Ill., April 6, 1866. The first department encampment was held at Springfield, Ill., July 12, 1866. The first national encampment was held at Indianapolis, November 20, 1866.
*For revisions and additions under this heading, up to the moment of going to press, see Addenda, preceding Index.