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How did the Pendleton Act reform the civil service system?

The Pendleton Act reformed the civil service system by introducing merit-based appointments and promoting job security.

The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed in 1883 in the United States, marking a significant shift in the way civil service appointments were made. Prior to the Act, the civil service system was largely based on the 'spoils system', where political loyalty was rewarded with public office. This often led to corruption and inefficiency, as appointments were made based on political connections rather than competence or qualifications.

The Pendleton Act aimed to rectify this by introducing a merit-based system for civil service appointments. Under this system, candidates for public office had to pass a competitive examination to prove their suitability for the role. This was a radical departure from the previous system and was designed to ensure that only the most qualified individuals were appointed to public office.

In addition to introducing merit-based appointments, the Pendleton Act also promoted job security within the civil service. The Act made it illegal to fire or demote government officials for political reasons and prohibited requiring employees to give political service or contributions. This was a significant reform as it protected civil servants from the whims of changing administrations and ensured that they could not be coerced into supporting a particular political party or candidate.

Furthermore, the Pendleton Act established the United States Civil Service Commission, a three-member board tasked with enforcing the new rules. The Commission was responsible for administering the competitive examinations and ensuring that appointments were made based on merit.

Overall, the Pendleton Act brought about significant reforms to the civil service system. By introducing merit-based appointments and promoting job security, the Act aimed to reduce corruption and increase efficiency within the civil service. It marked a significant step towards the professionalisation of the civil service and laid the groundwork for further reforms in the years to come.

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