It was "the policy of prudent antiquity," as Lord COKE has said, "that officers did ever give a grace to the place, and not the place only grace (to) the officer."1 A modern expression of a similar thought is found in the maxim, "the office should seek the man and not the man, the office." Have we Americans reversed the process? Have we lost sight of these ideals? Certain it is that some popular notions which are not consistent with the spirit of these maxims have grown up in this country. Offices have come to be regarded too much as prizes to be awarded to the favorite of the majority of the electors. Campaigns and elections are thought of as contests between individual office-seekers rather than earnest attempts on the part of citizens and voters to select competent men to serve the state.
Stoner, W. Gordon. "Compulsory Service in Office." Mich. L. Rev. 11 (1913): 478-94.