(July 31, 1844-July 3, 1929). Born in Orleans County, New York, Lucius Burrie Swift attended local schools and worked on his family farm until the outbreak of the Civil War, in which he served with the 28th New York Infantry. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1870 and studied law for two years before moving to La Porte, Indiana, in 1872 to accept a teaching position. Later, he became superintendent of schools. In 1879, Swift moved to Indianapolis to practice law.

During the 1880s and 1890s, while maintaining a modest practice, Swift became nationally known for his efforts in reforming the civil service system. In 1885, in concert with William Dudley Foulke and Louis Howland, Swift helped organize the Indiana Civil Service Reform Association and became chairman of the executive committee. Over the next several years, Swift investigated the local post office and the Indiana Hospital for the Insane (Central State Hospital), finding violations of civil service law and widespread political patronage.

In 1889, he founded the monthly Civil Service Chronicle, a national journal dealing with reform and patronage that he edited and published until 1896. He also participated as a leading figure in the National Civil Service Reform League.

During World War I, Swift supported the war effort, spoke out against German aggression, and published a pro-Ally propaganda pamphlet entitled America’S Debt To England (1917).

After the war, he served on the Indianapolis Board of Sanitary Commissioners and wrote several booklets about the origins of American liberties, including How We Got Our Liberty.

Revised March 2021

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