The murder in 1881 of President J. Garfield, committed by one of the disappointed applicants for public office, aroused great indignation of the population. This forced both parties to enforce through the Congress the United States Civil Service Improvement and Regulation Act, named after its author by Pendleton’s Law. Since that time, the US civil service has become known as the civil service.


The Pendleton Act of 1883 made it possible to seriously rationalize public service and create a permanent bureaucratic apparatus. He proceeded from the division of all civil servants into two categories. The first is political leaders and political appointees, and the second is career officials or civil servants in the proper sense of the word.

It was recognized that if political leaders occupy their positions temporarily, changing depending on the political situation and the power of a particular party, career officials retain their posts constantly regardless of the composition of the leadership and the political line pursued by them. The Pendleton Act established principles such as job posting based on impartial competitive examinations should be applied to career officials to objectively assess the suitability of applicants for public office.

In addition, the law includes a ban on forcing officials to engage in any political activity, including their payment of funds for political purposes, and the impossibility of their dismissal for political reasons. The Civil Service Law has also developed some anti-corruption measures.

In particular, he banned the entry into service of persons whose two close relatives were already employees of the federal apparatus, and also set a probationary period for beginners. In addition, he forbade persons who regularly and excessively drink alcohol to hold public office.

To coordinate work on the organization of public service, a Civil Service Commission independent of the president was created. Her responsibilities included compiling lists of candidates for government posts that met established qualification requirements; control over competitive exams; resolving issues related to improving the efficiency of public service.