“To reform the system Roosevelt introduced new examinations for policemen. As a result, sixteen hundred qualified men were given jobs as officers. Within two years, about two-fifths of all patrolmen were placed under the revamped civil service, or about four times the previous number of protected jobholders. The qualifying examinations were not onerous. An applicant had to know how to spell, to write a good letter, to do basic arithmetic, and to have some acquaintance with history and geography. To those complaining about the unfairness of the test, Roosevelt made public several examples of failing replies that would-be patrolmen had offered. In answer to the question “What are the five New England states?” a man wrote, “Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Cork.” Another applicant who failed wrote the word paper in answer to “Upon what instrument is the government of the United States founded?” One applicant hoped to flatter Roosevelt by replying “President Roosevelt” when asked who would perform the duties of the mayor if he were absent or disabled.”

Lion in the White House, Aida D. Donald