Posts of Honor: How America's Corporate and Civic Leaders View Presidential Appointments

Light, P.C.
Presidential Appointee Initiative, The Brookings Institution,

From its very beginnings as a war-weary republic, the United States has always depended on citizen servants to lead its government. The Founding Fathers believed their young nation would not long survive as a representative democracy without leaders whose patriotism and love of justice would allow the new government to rise above the partisan divisions of the day. These hopes for virtuous, wise leaders extended to what Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin called the “posts of honor” in the executive branch. Worried about the bold and fractious individuals who might be drawn to government in search of profit, Franklin proposed that executive officers receive “no salary, stipend, Fee or reward whatsoever for their service.” Although the Constitutional Convention quietly tabled his proposal without debate, Franklin expressed the young republic’s desperate need for executives motivated by public interest, not private gain.

Wagner Faculty