Civil Service Reform under Harrison

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Civil service reform was a no-win proposition; pleasing one side of the issue ensured that the other would be offended. President Harrison made a number of excellent merit-based appointments to federal positions, but in so doing he offended the political bosses. On the other hand, his few efforts to do the right thing were regarded by the good-government forces as being too little.

Harrison's inability to satisfy the patronage demands of his own party was a significant factor in his failure to win a second term in the Election of 1892.