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The first of the series of six lectures by graduates who give their services to speak on civic duties and reforms, was delivered in Sanders Theatre last evening by Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte '71. President Eliot introduced the speaker who said in part:
The evils of rings and bosses are in no sense local and temporary, but general and permanent. A boss is very hard to define. We usually know him when we see him, but to understand how we came to have bosses and what they are, we must first consider the parties in America today. The United States are now governed by two immense corporations, calling themselves the Republican and the Democratic parties. Each party, through control of the primaries by the bosses or rings, becomes dominated by cliques. For no candidates can be chosen at the primaries under boss rule except those men whom the boss allows to be nominated, and the men elected at the primaries determine the men chosen to office. What a boss has to have is the control of organized voters. With them the boss has no fear of unorganized opposition. A boss is always surrounded by a ring.
Mr. Bonaparte then went on to cite the case of Baltimore with which he is personally familiar and where he has fought bossdom. "Praetorianism" is the system that served to continue bossdom in Baltimore, said Mr. Bonaparte, and the government there existing was distinctly oligarchical. Now, the oligarchy there has fallen, but the success of bossdom in New York warns us of danger. The great parties themselves are corrupt. Men do not get offices as rewards of merit. The remedy is right before us. The nation has made the civil service a breathing place for parasites. Restore this service to its proper condition. It will be done with cost, but it is worth while.
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