Eaton, Dorman Bridgman

AuthorJeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

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Dorman Bridgman Eaton was born June 27, 1823, in Hardwick, Vermont. He was a successful

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lawyer who achieved prominence for his work in the establishment of the U.S. Civil Service Commission.

After receiving a doctor of laws degree from the University of Vermont in 1848, Eaton attended Harvard Law School in 1850 and was admitted to the New York bar, practicing law there until 1870.

Eaton was a staunch believer in a merit system as opposed to a spoils system in the acquisition of local or national government employment. In 1873, he became the chairperson of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, an organization that embodied the ideas of the merit system. He served until 1875, when funding for the commission ceased, and he subsequently went to England to examine the structure of the English Civil Service Commission. In 1883, he formulated the Pendleton Act (5 U.S.C.A. § 1101 et seq. [1883]), which provided for the foundation of the permanent Civil Service Commission. He performed the duties of chairperson of this new commission...

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