The Plundering Generation: Corruption and the Crisis of the Union, 1849-1861

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9780195050578: The Plundering Generation: Corruption and the Crisis of the Union, 1849-1861
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The years following the Civil War have generally been viewed as the "Great Barbecue"--the time when morals broke down in public life and every law and man seemed to be for sale. In a close examination of the 1850s, Mark W. Summers shows that the Barbecue was well under ten years before the war began: embezzling treasurers, bribe-giving lobbyists, office brokers, and claims swindlers were pervasive in antebellum America. Summers contends that corruption, North and South, undermined the Jacksonian party system, irritated sectional jealousies, discredited compromise, and ultimately aided in the death of the Union. A compelling, often lurid tale, the story of the "plundering generation" raises important questions about the significance of corruption for policy-making and American political thought.

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Published by Oxford University Press (1988)
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Published by Oxford University Press (1988)
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