If you can tell me how to solve this problem so as to recognize the right that you claim Colorado has, and to maintain the rights that the Federal Government and the adjoining States have, I shall certainly be deeply grateful.
With all good wishes for the New Year, believe me as always, affectionately yours,
The Hon. Woodrow Wilson The White House
Washington, March 11, 1914
My dear Mr. President,—I have your note of yesterday referring to me the correspondence between yourself and the Civil Service Commission on the question of the participation of women Civil Service employees in woman suffrage organizations. I think perhaps I am a prejudiced partisan in this matter for I believe that the women should have the right to agitate for the suffrage. Furthermore, I think they are going to get the suffrage, and that it would be politically unwise for the administration to create the impression that it was attempting to block the movement. I should think it the part of wisdom for you personally to make the announcement that women Civil Service employees will be protected in the right to join woman suffrage organizations and to participate in woman suffrage parades or meetings. This is practically what the Civil Service Commission says, but in a more careful, lawyer-like manner, whereas whatever is said should be said in a rather robust, forthright style. The real thing that we are after in making regulations as to political activity is to keep those who are in the employ of the Government from using their positions to further their personal ends or to serve some political party. What they may do as individuals outside of the Government offices is none of our business, so long as they do nothing toward breaking it down as a merit service, do not discredit the service, or render themselves unfit for it ...
The spoils system is a combination of gratitude and blackmail. The merit system is an attempt to secure efficiency without recognizing friendship or fear. We can safely allow the participation of merit system employees in an agitation so long as they do not go to the point where official advantage may be had through the agitation by securing a reward through party success ...
I believe you might well make a statement of two or three hundred words in which you could state your decision with the philosophy that underlies it, in such a manner as to make the women understand that you are taking a liberal attitude and yet protecting the full spirit of the Civil Service idea. Cordially yours,
In March 1914, for the second time, Lane was invited to the University of California to receive a degree. This was an honor from his Alma Mater that he greatly desired. The previous year, the reorganization of his Department and the pressure of new work, had made it impossible for him to leave Washington. But this year he had promised to go.