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Carl Schurz in The West

Carl Schurz (1829-1906) was the Secretary of the Interior from 1877-1881. Born in Germany, Schurz was among the revolutionaries forced to emigrate in 1848. After living briefly in Paris and London, he immigrated to the United States in 1852, eventually settling in Wisconsin. There, he became active in the Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor and governor of Wisconsin before being named ambassador to Spain in 1861. He resigned this post in 1862 to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was elected to the Senate as a Republican in 1868, and sat until 1875.

Appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Rutherford B. Hayes, Schurz introduced significant reforms in the department and its bureaus, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Schurz centralized control of the bureau and instituted new accounting and oversight protocols to reduce corruption. His required that certain positions be filled by civil service examination; eventually almost all rank and file positions within the bureau were taken out of the hands of politicians and distributed through civil service exams.

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