Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 May 2006
Ezra Pound made his first political statement when he was only seven years old. Reacting to the news that Grover Cleveland had defeated Benjamin Harrison in the presidential election of 1892, he threw his child's rocking chair across the room. Such a combination of rage and reaction would typify his approach to politics over his lifetime. But at that age his opinions were not yet his own, and his violent act was undoubtedly motivated by family discussions he had overheard. In his autobiography, Indiscretions (1920), he speculated:
that a child of six [sic] should lift up its miniature rockingchair and hurl it across the room in displeasure at the result of a national election can only have been due to something “in the air”; to some preoccupation of its elders, and not to its own personal and rational deductions regarding the chief magistracy of the Virgin Republic.
In this case it may have been that I was genuinely oppressed by the fear that my father would lose his job and that we would all be deprived of sustenance.
As Pound remembered it, Homer Pound's job in the assayer's department at the US Mint in Philadelphia was not covered by the 1883 Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which dealt only with offices with more than fifty employees.