The Boss and the Machine
by Samuel P. Orth
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An Oregon statute declares: "Every political party and every volunteer political organization has the same right to be protected from the interference of persons who are not identified with it, as its known and publicly avowed members, that the government of the State has to protect itself from the interference of persons who are not known and registered as its electors. It is as great a wrong to the people, as well as to members of a political party, for anyone who is not known to be one of its members to vote or take any part at any election, or other proceedings of such political party, as it is for one who is not a qualified and registered elector to vote at any state election or to take part in the business of the State." It is a far reach from the democratic laissez faire of Jackson's day to this state dogmatism which threatens the independent or detached voter with ultimate extinction.

A variety of methods have been adopted for initiating the citizen into party membership. In the Southern States, where the dual party system does not exist, the legislature has left the matter in the hands of the duly appointed party officials. They can, with canonical rigor, determine the party standing of voters at the primaries. But where there is party competition, such a generous endowment of power would be dangerous.

Many States permit the voter to make his declaration of party allegiance when he goes to the primary. He asks for the ticket of the party whose nominees he wishes to help select. He is then handed the party's ballot, which he marks and places in the ballot-box of that party. Now, if he is challenged, he must declare upon oath that he is a member of that party, that he has generally supported its tickets and its principles, and that at the coming election he intends to support at least a majority of its nominees. In this method little freedom is left to the voter who wishes to participate as an independent both in the primaries and in the general election.

The New York plan is more rigorous. Here, in all cities, the voter enrolls his name on his party's lists when he goes to register for the coming election. He receives a ballot upon which are the following words: "I am in general sympathy with the principles of the party which I have designated by my mark hereunder; it is my intention to support generally at the next general election, state and national, the nominees of such party for state and national offices; and I have not enrolled with or participated in any primary election or convention of any other party since the first day of last year." On this enrollment blank he indicates the party of his choice, and the election officials deposit all the ballots, after sealing them in envelopes, in a special box. At a time designated by law, these seals are broken and the party enrollment is compiled from them. These party enrollment books are public records. Everyone who cares may consult the lists. The advantages of secrecy—such as they are—are thus not secured.

It remained for Wisconsin, the experimenting State, to find a way of insuring secrecy. Here, when the voter goes to the primary, he is handed a large ballot, upon which all the party nominations are printed. The different party tickets are separated by perforations, so that the voter simply tears out the party ticket he wishes to vote, marks it, and puts it in the box. The rejected tickets he deposits in a large waste basket provided for the discards.

While the party was being fenced in by legal definition, its machinery, the intricate hierarchy of committees, was subjected to state scrutiny with the avowed object of ridding the party of ring rule. The State Central Committee is the key to the situation. To democratize this committee is a task that has severely tested the ingenuity of the State, for the inventive capacity of the professional politician is prodigious. The devices to circumvent the politician are so numerous and various that only a few types can be selected to illustrate how the State is carrying out its determination. Illinois has provided perhaps the most democratic method. In each congressional district, the voters, at the regular party primaries, choose the member of the state committee for the district, who serves for a term of two years. The law says that "no other person or persons whomsoever" than those so chosen by the voters shall serve on the committee, so that members by courtesy or by proxy, who might represent the boss, are apparently shut off. The law stipulates the time within which the committee must meet and organize. Under this plan, if the ring controls the committee, the fault lies wholly with the majority of the party; it is a self-imposed thraldom.

Iowa likewise stipulates that the Central Committee shall be composed of one member from each congressional district. But the members are chosen in a state convention, organized under strict and minute regulations imposed by law. It permits considerable freedom to the committee, however, stating that it "may organize at pleasure for political work as is usual and customary with such committees."

In Wisconsin another plan was adopted in 1907. Here the candidates for the various state offices and for both branches of the legislature and the senators whose terms have not expired meet in the state capital at noon on a day specified by law and elect by ballot a central committee consisting of at least two members from each congressional district. A chairman is chosen in the same manner.

Most States, however, leave some leeway in the choice of the state committee, permitting their election usually by the regular primaries but controlling their action in many details. The lesser committees—county, city, district, judicial, senatorial, congressional, and others—are even more rigorously controlled by law.

So the issuing of the party platform, the principles on which it must stand or fall, has been touched by this process of ossification. Few States retain the state convention in its original vigor. In all States where primaries are held for state nominations, the emasculated and subdued convention is permitted to write the party platform. But not so in some States. Wisconsin permits the candidates and the hold-over members of the Senate, assembled according to law in a state meeting, to issue the platform. In other States, the Central Committee and the various candidates for state office form a party council and frame the platform. Oregon, in 1901, tried a novel method of providing platforms by referendum. But the courts declared the law unconstitutional. So Oregon now permits each candidate to write his own platform in not over one hundred words and file it with his nominating petition, and to present a statement of not over twelve words to be printed on the ballot.

The convention system provided many opportunities for the manipulator and was inherently imperfect for nominating more than one or two candidates for office. It has survived as the method of nominating candidates for President of the United States because it is adapted to the wide geographical range of the nation and because in the national convention only a President and a Vice-President are nominated. In state and county conventions, where often candidates for a dozen or more offices are to be nominated, it was often subject to demoralizing bartering.

The larger the number of nominations to be made, the more complete was the jobbery, and this was the death warrant of the local convention. These evils were recognized as early as June 20, 1860, when the Republican county convention of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, adopted the following resolutions:

"Whereas, in nominating candidates for the several county offices, it clearly is, or ought to be, the object to arrive as nearly as possible at the wishes of the majority, or at least a plurality of the Republican voters; and

"Whereas the present system of nominating by delegates, who virtually represent territory rather than votes, and who almost necessarily are wholly unacquainted with the wishes and feelings of their constituents in regard to various candidates for office, is undemocratic, because the people have no voice in it, and objectionable, because men are often placed in nomination because of their location who are decidedly unpopular, even in their own districts, and because it affords too great an opportunity for scheming and designing men to accomplish their own purposes; therefore

"Resolved, that we are in favor of submitting nominations directly to the people—the Republican voters—and that delegate conventions for nominating county officers be abolished, and we hereby request and instruct the county committee to issue their call in 1861, in accordance with the spirit of this resolution."

Upon the basis of this indictment of the county convention system, the Republican voters of Crawford County, a rural community, whose largest town is Meadville, the county seat, proceeded to nominate their candidates by direct vote, under rules prepared by the county committee. These rules have been but slightly changed. The informality of a hat or open table drawer has been replaced by an official ballotbox, and an official ballot has taken the place of the tickets furnished by each candidate.

The "Crawford County plan," as it was generally called, was adopted by various localities in many States. In 1866 California and New York enacted laws to protect primaries and nominating caucuses from fraud. In 1871 Ohio and Pennsylvania enacted similar laws, followed by Missouri in 1875 and New Jersey in 1878. By 1890 over a dozen States had passed laws attempting to eliminate the grosser frauds attendant upon making nominations. In many instances it was made optional with the party whether the direct plan should supersede the delegate plan. Only in certain cities, however, was the primary made mandatory in these States. By far the larger areas retained the convention.

There is noticeable in these years a gradual increase in the amount of legislation concerning the nominating machinery—prescribing the days and hours for holding elections of delegates, the size of the polling-place, the nature of the ballotbox, the poll-list, who might participate in the choice of delegates, how the returns were to be made, and so on. By the time, then, that the Australian ballot came, with its profound changes, nearly all the States had attempted to remove the glaring abuses of the nominating system; and several of them officially recognized the direct primary. The State was reluctant to abolish the convention system entirely; and the Crawford County plan long remained merely optional. But in 1901 Minnesota enacted a state-wide, mandatory primary law. Mississippi followed in 1902, Wisconsin in 1903, and Oregon in 1904. This movement has swept the country.

Few States retain the nominating convention, and where it remains it is shackled by legal restrictions. The boss, however, has devised adequate means for controlling primaries, and a return to a modified convention system is being earnestly discussed in many States to circumvent the further ingenuity of the boss. A further step towards the state control of parties was taken when laws began to busy themselves with the conduct of the campaign. Corrupt Practices Acts began to assume bulk in the early nineties, to limit the expenditure of candidates, and to enumerate the objects for which campaign committees might legitimately spend money. These are usually personal traveling expenses of the candidates, rental of rooms for committees and halls for meetings, payment of musicians and speakers and their traveling expenses, printing campaign material, postage for distribution of letters, newspapers and printed matter, telephone and telegraph charges, political advertising, employing challengers at the polls, necessary clerk hire, and conveyances for bringing aged or infirm voters to the polls. The maximum amount that can be spent by candidates is fixed, and they are required to make under oath a detailed statement of their expenses in both primary and general elections. The various committees, also, must make detailed reports of the funds they handle, the amount, the contributors, and the expenditures. Corporations are forbidden to contribute, and the amount that candidates themselves may give is limited in many States. These exactions are reinforced by stringent laws against bribery. Persons found guilty of either receiving or soliciting a bribe are generally disfranchised or declared ineligible for public office for a term of years. Illinois, for the second offense, forever disfranchises.

It is not surprising that these restrictions have led the State to face the question whether it should not itself bear some of the expenses of the campaign. It has, of course, already assumed an enormous burden formerly borne entirely by the party. The cost of primary and general elections nowadays is tremendous. A few Western States print a campaign pamphlet and distribute it to every voter. The pamphlet contains usually the photographs of the candidates, a brief biography, and a statement of principles.

These are the principal encroachments made by the Government upon the autonomy of the party. The details are endless. The election laws of New York fill 330 printed pages. It is little wonder that American parties are beginning to study the organization of European parties, such as the labor parties and the social democratic parties, which have enlisted a rather fervent party fealty. These are propagandist parties and require to be active all the year round. So they demand annual dues of their members and have permanent salaried officials and official party organs. Such a permanent organization was suggested for the National Progressive party. But the early disintegration of the party made impossible what would have been an interesting experiment. After the election of 1916, Governor Whitman of New York suggested that the Republican party choose a manager and pay him $10,000 a year and have a lien on all his time and energy. The plan was widely discussed and its severest critics were the politicians who would suffer from it. The wide-spread comment with which it was received revealed the change that has come over the popular idea of a political party since the State began forty years ago to bring the party under its control.

But flexibility is absolutely essential to a party system that adequately serves a growing democracy. And under a two-party system, as ours is probably bound to remain, the independent voter usually holds the balance of power. He may be merely a disgruntled voter seeking for revenge, or an overpleased voter seeking to maintain a profitable status quo, or he may belong to that class of super-citizens from which mugwumps arise. In any case, the majorities at elections are usually determined by him. And party orthodoxy made by the State is almost as distasteful to him as the rigor of the boss. He relishes neither the one nor the other.

In the larger cities the citizens' tickets and fusion movements are types of independent activities. In some cities they are merely temporary associations, formed for a single, thorough housecleaning. The Philadelphia Committee of One Hundred, which was organized in 1880 to fight the Gas Ring, is an example. It issued a Declaration of Principles, demanding the promotion of public service rather than private greed, and the prosecution of "those who have been guilty of election frauds, maladministration of office, or misappropriation of public funds." Announcing that it would endorse only candidates who signed this declaration, the committee supported the Democratic candidates, and nominated for Receiver of Taxes a candidate of its own, who became also the Democratic nominee when the regular Democratic candidate withdrew. Philadelphia was overwhelmingly Republican. But the committee's aid was powerful enough to elect the Democratic candidate for mayor by 6000 majority and the independent candidate for Receiver of Taxes by 20,000. This gave the Committee access to the records of the doings of the Gas Ring. In 1884, however, the candidate which it endorsed was defeated, and it disbanded.

Similar in experience was the famous New York Committee of Seventy, organized in 1894 after Dr. Parkhurst's lurid disclosures of police connivance with every degrading vice. A call was issued by thirty-three well-known citizens for a non-partizan mass meeting, and at this meeting a committee of seventy was appointed "with full power to confer with other anti-Tammany organizations, and to take such actions as may be necessary to further the objects of this meeting as set forth in the call therefor, and the address adopted by this meeting." The committee adopted a platform, appointed an executive and a finance committee, and nominated a full ticket, distributing the candidates among both parties. All other anti-Tammany organizations endorsed this ticket, and it was elected by large majorities. The committee dissolved after having secured certain charter amendments for the city and seeing its roster of officers inaugurated.

The Municipal Voters' League of Chicago is an important example of the permanent type of citizens' organization. The league is composed of voters in every ward, who, acting through committees and alert officers, scrutinize every candidate for city office from the Mayor down. It does not aim to nominate a ticket of its own, but to exercise such vigilance, enforced by so effective an organization and such wide-reaching publicity, that the various parties will, of their own volition, nominate men whom the league can endorse. By thus putting on the hydraulic pressure of organized public opinion, it has had a considerable influence on the parties and a very stimulating effect on the citizenry.

Finally, there has developed in recent years the fusion movement, whereby the opponents of boss rule in all parties unite and back an independent or municipal ticket. The election of Mayor Mitchel of New York in 1913 was thus accomplished. In Milwaukee, a fusion has been successful against the Socialists. And in many lesser cities this has brought at least temporary relief from the oppression of the local oligarchy.


The administrative weakness of a democracy, namely, the tendency towards a government by job-hunters, was disclosed even in the early days of the United States, when the official machinery was simple and the number of offices few. Washington at once foresaw both the difficulties and the duties that the appointing power imposed. Soon after his inauguration he wrote to Rutledge: "I anticipate that one of the most difficult and delicate parts of the duty of any office will be that which relates to nominations for appointments." And he was most scrupulous and painstaking in his appointments. Fitness for duty was paramount with him, though he recognized geographical necessity and distributed the offices with that precision which characterized all his acts.

John Adams made very few appointments. After his term had expired, he wrote: "Washington appointed a multitude of Democrats and Jacobins of the deepest die. I have been more cautious in this respect."

The test of partizan loyalty, however, was not applied generally until after the election of Jefferson. The ludicrous apprehensions of the Federalists as to what would follow upon his election were not allayed by his declared intentions. "I have given," he wrote to Monroe, "and will give only to Republicans under existing circumstances." Jefferson was too good a politician to overlook his opportunity to annihilate the Federalists. He hoped to absorb them in his own party, "to unite the names of Federalists and Republicans." Moderate Federalists, who possessed sufficient gifts of grace for conversion, he sedulously nursed. But he removed all officers for whose removal any special reason could be discovered. The "midnight appointments" of John Adams he refused to acknowledge, and he paid no heed to John Marshall's dicta in Marbury versus Madison. He was zealous in discovering plausible excuses for making vacancies. The New York Evening Post described him as "gazing round, with wild anxiety furiously inquiring, 'how are vacancies to be obtained?'" Directly and indirectly, Jefferson effected, during his first term, 164 changes in the offices at his disposal, a large number for those days. This he did so craftily, with such delicate regard for geographical sensitiveness and with such a nice balance between fitness for office and the desire for office, that by the end of his second term he had not only consolidated our first disciplined and eager political party, but had quieted the storm against his policy of partizan proscription.

During the long regime of the Jeffersonian Republicans there were three significant movements. In January, 1811, Nathaniel Macon introduced his amendment to the Constitution providing that no member of Congress should receive a civil appointment "under the authority of the United States until the expiration of the presidential term in which such person shall have served as senator or representative." An amendment was offered by Josiah Quincy, making ineligible to appointment the relations by blood or marriage of any senator or representative. Nepotism was considered the curse of the civil service, and for twenty years similar amendments were discussed at almost every session of Congress. John Quincy Adams said that half of the members wanted office, and the other half wanted office for their relatives.

In 1820 the Four Years' Act substituted a four-year tenure of office, in place of a term at the pleasure of the President, for most of the federal appointments. The principal argument urged in favor of the law was that unsatisfactory civil servants could easily be dropped without reflection on their character. Defalcations had been discovered to the amount of nearly a million dollars, due mainly to carelessness and gross inefficiency. It was further argued that any efficient incumbent need not be disquieted, for he would be reappointed. The law, however, fulfilled Jefferson's prophecy: it kept "in constant excitement all the hungry cormorants for office."

What Jefferson began, Jackson consummated. The stage was now set for Democracy. Public office had been marshaled as a force in party maneuver. In his first annual message, Jackson announced his philosophy:

"There are perhaps few men who can for any great length of time enjoy office and power without being more or less under the influence of feelings unfavorable to the faithful discharge of their public duties.... Office is considered as a species of property, and government rather as a means of promoting individual interests than as an instrument created solely for the service of the people. Corruption in some, and in others a perversion of correct feelings and principles, divert government from its legitimate ends and make it an engine for the support of the few at the expense of the many. The duties of all public offices are, or at least admit of being made, so plain, so simple that men of intelligence may readily qualify themselves for their performance.... In a country where offices are created solely for the benefit of the people, no one man has any more intrinsic right to official station than another."

The Senate refused Jackson's request for an extension of the Four Years' law to cover all positions in the civil service. It also refused to confirm some of his appointments, notably that of Van Buren as minister to Great Britain. The debate upon this appointment gave the spoilsman an epigram. Clay with directness pointed to Van Buren as the introducer "of the odious system of proscription for the exercise of the elective franchise in the government of the United States." He continued: "I understand it is the system on which the party in his own State, of which he is the reputed head, constantly acts. He was among the first of the secretaries to apply that system to the dismission of clerks of his department... known to me to be highly meritorious... It is a detestable system."

And Webster thundered: "I pronounce my rebuke as solemnly and as decisively as I can upon this first instance in which an American minister has been sent abroad as the representative of his party and not as the representative of his country."

To these and other challenges, Senator Marcy of New York made his well-remembered retort that "the politicians of the United States are not so fastidious.... They see nothing wrong in the rule that to the victor belong the spoils of the enemy."

Jackson, with all his bluster and the noise of his followers, made his proscriptions relatively fewer than those of Jefferson. He removed only 252 of about 612 presidential appointees. * It should, however, be remembered that those who were not removed had assured Jackson's agents of their loyalty to the new Democracy.

* This does not include deputy postmasters, who numbered about 8000 and were not placed in the presidential list until 1836.

If Jackson did not inaugurate the spoils system, he at least gave it a mission. It was to save the country from the curse of officialdom. His successor, Van Buren, brought the system to a perfection that only the experienced politician could achieve. Van Buren required of all appointees partizan service; and his own nomination, at Baltimore, was made a foregone conclusion by the host of federal job-holders who were delegates. Van Buren simply introduced at Washington the methods of the Albany Regency.

The Whigs blustered bravely against this proscription. But their own President, General Harrison, "Old Tippecanoe," was helpless against the saturnalia of office-seekers that engulfed him. Harrison, when he came to power, removed about one-half of the officials in the service. And, although the partizan color of the President changed with Harrison's death, after a few weeks in office,—Tyler was merely a Whig of convenience—there was no change in the President's attitude towards the spoils system.

Presidential inaugurations became orgies of office-seekers, and the first weeks of every new term were given over to distributing the jobs, ordinary business having to wait. President Polk, who removed the usual quota, is complimented by Webster for making "rather good selections from his own friends." The practice, now firmly established, was continued by Taylor, Pierce, and Buchanan.

Lincoln found himself surrounded by circumstances that made caution necessary in every appointment. His party was new and composed of many diverse elements. He had to transform their jealousies into enthusiasm, for the approach of civil war demanded supreme loyalty and unity of action. To this greater cause of saving the Union he bent every effort and used every instrumentality at his command. No one before him had made so complete a change in the official personnel of the capital as the change which he was constrained to make. No one before him or since used the appointing power with such consummate skill or displayed such rare tact and knowledge of human nature in seeking the advice of those who deemed their advice valuable. The war greatly increased the number of appointments, and it also imposed obligations that made merit sometimes a secondary consideration. With the statesman's vision, Lincoln recognized both the use and the abuse of the patronage system. He declined to gratify the office-seekers who thronged the capital at the beginning of his second term; and they returned home disappointed. The twenty years following the Civil War were years of agitation for reform. People were at last recognizing the folly of using the multiplying public offices for party spoils. The quarrel between Congress and President Johnson over removals, and the Tenure of Office Act, focused popular attention on the constitutional question of appointment and removal, and the recklessness of the political manager during Grant's two terms disgusted the thoughtful citizen.

The first attempts to apply efficiency to the civil service had been made when pass examinations were used for sifting candidates for clerkships in the Treasury Department in 1853, when such tests were prescribed by law for the lowest grade of clerkships. The head of the department was given complete control over the examinations, and they were not exacting. In 1864 Senator Sumner introduced a bill "to provide for the greater efficiency of the civil service." It was considered chimerical and dropped.

Meanwhile, a steadfast and able champion of reform appeared in the House, Thomas A. Jenckes, a prominent lawyer of Rhode Island. A bill which he introduced in December, 1865, received no hearing. But in the following year a select joint committee was charged to examine the whole question of appointments, dismissals, and patronage. Mr. Jenckes presented an elaborate report in May, 1868, explaining the civil service of other countries. This report, which is the corner stone of American civil service reform, provided the material for congressional debate and threw the whole subject into the public arena. Jenckes in the House and Carl Schurz in the Senate saw to it that ardent and convincing defense of reform was not wanting. In compliance with President Grant's request for a law to "govern not the tenure, but the manner of making all appointments," a rider was attached to the appropriation bill in 1870, asking the President "to prescribe such rules and regulations" as he saw fit, and "to employ suitable persons to conduct" inquiries into the best method for admitting persons into the civil service. A commission of which George William Curtis was chairman made recommendations, but they were not adopted and Curtis resigned. The New York Civil Service Reform Association was organized in 1877; and the National League, organized in 1881, soon had flourishing branches in most of the large cities. The battle was largely between the President and Congress. Each succeeding President signified his adherence to reform, but neutralized his words by sanctioning vast changes in the service. Finally, under circumstances already described, on January 16, 1883, the Civil Service Act was passed.

This law had a stimulating effect upon state and municipal civil service. New York passed a law the same year, patterned after the federal act. Massachusetts followed in 1884, and within a few years many of the States had adopted some sort of civil service reform, and the large cities were experimenting with the merit system. It was not, however, until the rapid expansion of the functions of government and the consequent transformation in the nature of public duties that civil service reform made notable headway. When the Government assumed the duties of health officer, forester, statistician, and numerous other highly specialized functions, the presence of the scientific expert became imperative; and vast undertakings, like the building of the Panama Canal and the enormous irrigation projects of the West, could not be entrusted to the spoilsman and his minions.

The war has accustomed us to the commandeering of utilities, of science, and of skill upon a colossal scale. From this height of public devotion it is improbable that we shall decline, after the national peril has passed, into the depths of administrative incompetency which our Republic, and all its parts, occupied for so many years. The need for an efficient and highly complex State has been driven home to the consciousness of the average citizen. And this foretokens the permanent enlistment of talent in the public service to the end that democracy may provide that effective nationalism imposed by the new era of world competition.


There is no collected material of the literature of exposure. It is found in the official reports of investigating committees; such as the Lexow, Mazet, and Fassett committees in New York, and the report on campaign contributions by the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections (1913). The muckraker has scattered such indiscriminate charges that great caution is necessary to discover the truth. Only testimony taken under oath can be relied upon. And for local exposes the official court records must be sought.

The annual proceedings of the National Municipal League contain a great deal of useful material on municipal politics. The reports of local organizations, such as the New York Bureau of Municipal Research and the Pittsburgh Voters' League, are invaluable, as are the reports of occasional bodies, like the Philadelphia Committee of Fifty.

Personal touches can be gleaned from the autobiographies of such public men as Platt, Foraker, Weed, La Follette, and in such biographies as Croly's "M. A. Hanna."

On Municipal Conditions:

W. B. Munro, "The Government of American Cities" (1913). An authoritative and concise account of the development of American city government. Chapter VII deals with municipal politics.

J. J. Hamilton, "Dethronement of the City Boss" (1910). A description of the operation of commission government.

E. S. Bradford, "Commission Government in American Cities" (1911). A careful study of the commission plan.

H. Bruere, "New City Government" (1912). An interesting account of the new municipal regime.

Lincoln Steffens, "The Shame of the Cities" and "The Struggle for Self-Government" (1906). The Prince of the Muckrakers' contribution to the literature of awakening.

On State Conditions:

There is an oppressive barrenness of material on this subject.

P. S. Reinsch, "American Legislatures and Legislative Methods" (1907). A brilliant exposition of the legislatures' activities.

E. L. Godkin, "Unforeseen Tendencies in Democracy" contains a thoughtful essay on "The Decline of Legislatures."

On Political Parties and Machines:

M. Ostrogorski, "Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties," 2 vols. (1902). The second volume contains a comprehensive and able survey of the American party system. It has been abridged into a single volume edition called "Democracy and the Party System in the United States" (1910).

James Bryce, "The American Commonwealth," 2 vols. Volume II contains a noteworthy account of our political system.

Jesse Macy, "Party Organization and Machinery" (1912). A succinct account of party machinery.

J. A. Woodburn, "Political Parties and Party Problems" (1906). A sane account of our political task.

P. O. Ray, "An Introduction to Political Parties and Practical Politics" (1913). Valuable for its copious references to current literature on political subjects.

Theodore Roosevelt, "Essays on Practical Politics" (1888). Vigorous description of machine methods.

G. M. Gregory, "The Corrupt Use of Money in Politics and Laws for its Prevention" (1893). Written before the later exposes, it nevertheless gives a clear view of the problem.

W. M. Ivins, "Machine Politics" (1897). In New York City—by a keen observer.

George Vickers, "The Fall of Bossism" (1883). On the overthrow of the Philadelphia Gas Ring.

Gustavus Myers, "History of Tammany Hall" (1901; revised 1917). The best book on the subject.

E. C. Griffith, "The Rise and Development of the Gerrymander" (1907).


H. J. Ford, "Rise and Growth of American Politics" (1898). One of the earliest and one of the best accounts of the development of American politics.

Alexander Johnston and J. A. Woodburn, "American Political History," 2 vols. (1905). A brilliant recital of American party history. The most satisfactory book on the subject.

W. M. Sloane, "Party Government in the United States" (1914). A concise and convenient recital. Brings our party history to date.

J. B. McMaster, "With the Fathers" (1896). A volume of delightful historical essays, including one on "The Political Depravity of the Fathers."

On Nominations:

F. W. Dallinger, "Nominations for Elective Office in the United States" (1897). The most thorough work on the subject, describing the development of our nominating systems.

C. E. Merriam, "Primary Elections" (1908). A concise description of the primary and its history.

R. S. Childs, "Short Ballot Principles" (1911). A splendid account by the father of the short ballot movement.

C. E. Meyer, "Nominating Systems" (1902). Good on the caucus.

On the Presidency:

J. B. Bishop, "Our Political Drama" (1904). A readable account of national conventions and presidential campaigns.

A. K. McClure, "Our Presidents and How We Make Them" (1903).

Edward Stanwood, "A History of the Presidency" (1898). Gives party platforms and describes each presidential campaign.

On Congress:

G. H. Haynes, "The Election of United States Senators" (1906).

H. J. Ford, "The Cost of Our National Government" (1910). A fine account of congressional bad housekeeping.

MARY C. Follett, "The Speaker of the House of Representatives" (1896).

Woodrow Wilson, "Congressional Government" (1885). Most interesting reading in the light of the Wilson Administration.

L. G. McConachie, "Congressional Committees" (1898).

On Special Topics:

C. R. Fish, "Civil Service and the Patronage" (1905). The best work on the subject.

J. D. Barnett, "The Operation of the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall in Oregon" (1915). A helpful, intensive study of these important questions.

E. P. Oberholtzer, The Referendum in America (1912). The most satisfactory and comprehensive work on the subject. Also discusses the initiative.

J. R. Commons, "Proportional Representation" (1907). The standard American book on the subject.

R. C. Brooks, "Corruption in American Politics and Life" (1910). A survey of our political pathology.


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