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423. The Civil Service.—The persons who serve the Government in civil or non-military capacities are collectively called the civil service. They are divided into two classes called officers and employés. The two classes are not separated by any consistent rule or practice. Officers, who are much inferior in numbers to employés, are appointed and removed. Employés are employed and discharged, not appointed and removed. Laborers in the navy yards, arsenals, and the like are employés; so are many persons in continued service at custom houses and in other offices as well as many clerks. In 1893 the civil service consisted of about 200,000 persons. Of these 69,000 were postmasters and 40,000 others served in the Post-office Department. Twenty-two thousand were workmen. The others were distributed among the other Departments of the Government.
424. Civil Service Reform.—Until a short time ago it was the custom for the President and others who were clothed with the appointing power to make appointments and removals of officers for political reasons. The same practice prevailed also in respect to employés. On a change of the administration, and especially when it involved a change of party, great numbers of officers and employés would be removed or discharged to make room for others. A Democratic administration was expected to turn out the Republicans, and a Republican administration to turn out the Democrats. This was called the spoils system. Soon after the Civil War the civil service began to attract the attention of the country. Men saw that the spoils system was companied by great abuses and corruption. In 1882 an act was passed under which the service has been materially reformed. This act does not apply to any office where the joint action of the President and
Senate is required to make an appointment. It provides that in the Departments at Washington, and in custom-houses and post-offices where as many as fifty clerks are employed, appointments shall be made by reason of merit or fitness. Competitive examinations are held, and when a new appointment is to be made in any Department or office, as to fill a vacancy, it must be filled from the four persons standing highest on the list of those who have passed the examinations. This is called the eligible list. Every State or Territory is entitled to its fair share of the appointments, and no person can be finally appointed until he has served a probation of six months. This is called the merit system. The President, in the exercise of his discretion as the executive head of the Government, has extended this system to many classes of officers and employés that the law does not in terms include. Mention may be made of the Government Printing Office and of the Postal Railway Service.
425. The President's Message.--The President is required to give Congress information of the state of the Union from time to time, and to recommend to its consideration such measures as, in his judgment, are necessary and expedient for the good of the country. At the opening of each session of Congress, he sends to the Houses a written communication that is styled a message, conveying such information and making such recommendations. He also sends in from time to time special messages, conveying special information or recommendations as occasion requires. The communications in which the President makes nominations, transmits treaties to the Senate, and assigns his reasons for refusing to sign bills are also known as messages. The heads of the several Departments make
annual reports to the President, and these the President transmits at the same time that he sends in his annual message. Collectively they are called the Executive Documents.
426. Special Sessions of Congress.- The President, on extraordinary occasions, may call the Houses of Congress together in special session. In such cases he transmits a message explaining why he does so, and recommending such action as he thinks necessary to be taken. He may also convene either House of Congress alone, and it is the custom for the President, just before retiring from office, to issue a proclamation calling the Senate together immediately following the inauguration of his successor. This gives the new President an opportunity to nominate his Cabinet and such other officers as he thinks important to appoint at that time. No President has ever found it necessary to call the House of Representatives by itself.
THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS.
The American Government. Sections 511-524. The executive business of the Government is transacted through the eight Executive
eight Executive Departments, that Congress has by law created. The President's office in the White House exists only for his personal convenience and is not an office of record. All the public records are kept in the Departments through which the business is transacted. The Departments are established in Government buildings in Washington. The names of the Departments, with the dates of their establishment, are as follows: State, Treasury, War, Justice, formerly called the Office of the Attorney General, and Post Office, 1789; Navy, 1798; Interior, 1849, and Agriculture, 1889. The heads of these Departments all receive the same salary, $8,000 a year,
427. Department of State.-At the head of this Department stands the Secretary of State, who is considered the head of the Cabinet. There are also three Assistant Secretaries of State. Under the direction of the President, the Secretary conducts the foreign and diplomatic business of the country. The originals of all treaties, laws, and foreign correspondence are in his custody. He also has in his possession the seal of the United States, and affixes it to public documents that require it, and also authenticates the President's proclamations with his signature. The business of the Department is conducted through various bureaus, such as Archives
and Statistics, the Diplomatic, and the Consuiar
428. Department of the Treasury.-The Secretary
429. Department of War.—The Secretary of War directs the military affairs of the Government. He has charge of the army records, superintends the purchase of military supplies, directs army transportation and the distribution of stores, has the oversight of the signal service and the improvement of rivers and harbors, and looks after the supply of arms and munitions of war. The Department contains ten bureaus: The offices of the Adjutant, Quartermaster, Commissary, Paymaster, and Surgeon Generals, the Chief of Engineers, the Ordnance and Signal Office, the Bureau of Military Justice, and the Military Academy at West Point. There is also an Assistant Secretary of War.