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1844: Governor Marmaduke's Proposal

1847: The Legislature Acts

1861-1865: Civil War Years

1890-1907: Struggle for Control

1945: The End of Patronage

1970 To The Present: De-institutionalization

1945: The End of Patronage

The morning after the 1940 general election, state employees learned that voters had replaced the Democratic governor with Republican Forrest Donnell. This meant a new staff at the hospital because under the patronage system, party loyalty was part of keeping a state job. It was no coincidence that in Fulton, where the chairman of the Eleemosynary Committee owned the Ford dealership, employees were expected to drive Fords. Constant staff turnovers, determined by the party in power, were eliminated with the 1945 Constitution. It required the implementation of a merit system in the eleemosynary institutions-to the distinct advantage of patients.

"State Employees should be real Democrats or real Republicans. To keep up the political parties, you have to give them the jobs. . . Instead of picking these employees on basis of the number of hours of college credits they have, they should be picked on the basis of the number of hours they have devoted to political party work."

Missouri State Senator Horace Raymond Williams

Merit system proposal from the 1943 Constitutional Convention of Missouri.
Missouri State Archives
Proposal #140 helped introduce the concept of a merit system to the 1943 Constitutional Convention of Missouri.

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Online Exhibit Created 2003
Missouri State ArchivesOffice of the Secretary of State, Missouri