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Who Should Govern Congress? Access to Power and the Salary Grab of 1873

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  • ALSTON, LEE J.
  • JENKINS, JEFFERY A.
  • NONNENMACHER, TOMAS

Abstract

We examine the politics of the Salary Grab of 1873, legislation that increased congressional salaries retroactively by 50 percent. A group of New England and Midwestern elites opposed the Salary Grab, along with congressional franking and patronage-based civil service appointments, as part of a reform effort to reshape who should govern Congress. Our analyses of congressional voting confirm the existence of this nonparty elite coalition. Although these elites lost many legislative battles in the short run, their efforts kept reform on the legislative agenda throughout the late nineteenth century and ultimately set the stage for the Progressive movement in the early twentieth century.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 66 (2006)
Issue (Month): 03 (September)
Pages: 674-706

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:66:y:2006:i:03:p:674-706_00

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  1. McGuire, Robert A., 1981. "Economic Causes of Late-Nineteenth Century Agrarian Unrest:New Evidence," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(04), pages 835-852, December.
  2. Ronald N. Johnson & Gary D. Libecap, 1994. "The Federal Civil Service System and The Problem of Bureaucracy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number john94-1, May.
  3. Johnson, Ronald N. & Libecap, Gary D., 1994. "The Federal Civil Service System and the Problem of Bureaucracy," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226401713.
  4. Matthew Gentzkow & Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2004. "The Rise of the Fourth Estate: How Newspapers Became Informative and Why It Mattered," NBER Working Papers 10791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John Lott, 1987. "Political cheating," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 169-186, January.
  6. James R. Vanbeek, 1991. "Does the Decision to Retire Increase the Amount of Political Shirking?," Public Finance Review, , vol. 19(4), pages 444-456, October.
  7. Poole, Keith T & Romer, Thomas, 1993. " Ideology, "Shirking", and Representation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(1), pages 185-96, September.
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