Catalogue


The era of good stealings /
Mark Wahlgren Summers.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1993.
description
xiv, 390 p. : ill.
ISBN
019507503X
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1993.
isbn
019507503X
catalogue key
3014197
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-07:
In The Plundering Generation: Corruption and the Crisis of the Union, 1849-1861 (CH, Jul'88), Summers demonstrated in great detail what he believed was the extraordinarily widespread political corruption in the 1850s and carefully explained how its prevalence, by appearing to threaten American republican institutions, ultimately contributed to the crisis of the Union itself. Covering the Reconstruction years of 1865 to 1877, this book is very much a sequel. Here, Summers is not cataloging examples of corruption. Instead, he examines the political and ideological issue of corruption and its consequences. He explores its connections with the intense partisan rivalries of the time and with the operations of the press. He tries to show that in responding to the fear of corruption and by calling for laissez-faire and conservatism, the reformers of the day actually contributed to a retreat from governmental activism that, among other results, hastened the end of Reconstruction in the South. There are some references to states and cities, but the book is fullest on national politics in the 1870s. Impressively researched, closely argued, and well informed by the historiography in the field, it is not equally persuasive on all points and not made easier to follow by the author's rather convoluted style of writing. But it is also fresh, stimulating, and vigorously done, well worth the attention of specialists in Reconstruction and US political culture. Many illustrations, all of them contemporary political cartoons. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty. J. M. Matthews; Georgia State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Wonderfully revisionist, excellently researched, spritely written, and insightful; it is superior narrative history."--Journal of Economic History
"Wonderfully revisionist, excellently researched, spritely written, andinsightful; it is superior narrative history."--Journal of EconomicHistory
"This study measures up to the high scholarly standards that characterizedthe author's earlier works....Summer's current book demonstrates exhaustiveresearch, forceful prose, and an insightful discussion. It advancesunderstanding of Reconstruction and the Grant administration."--The NorthCarolina Historical Review
"The Era of Good Stealings is much more than a study of corruption. It isan important and illuminating treatment of the politics and public values of theGilded Age. And it is also full of marvelous insights about events and issues aswell as of percipience about individuals."--Georgia Historical Quarterly
"This is an important contribution to our understanding of post-Civil War politics and of American culture more generally."--American Historical Review
"This is an important contribution to our understanding of post-Civil Warpolitics and of American culture more generally."--American HistoricalReview
"This study measures up to the high scholarly standards that characterized the author's earlier works....Summer's current book demonstrates exhaustive research, forceful prose, and an insightful discussion. It advances understanding of Reconstruction and the Grant administration."--The NorthCarolina Historical Review
"The Era of Good Stealings is much more than a study of corruption. It is an important and illuminating treatment of the politics and public values of the Gilded Age. And it is also full of marvelous insights about events and issues as well as of percipience about individuals."--GeorgiaHistorical Quarterly
"Summers's book is a valuable addition to post-bellum political history."--The Journal of American History
"Summers's book is a valuable addition to post-bellum politicalhistory."--The Journal of American History
"Provides a lucid analysis of political plunder, its context, consequences, and reform responses from Appomattox through the Compromise of 1877. In the process Summers offers compelling insights into our postbellum political culture, ideology, and propaganda that make The Era of Good Stealingsa milestone in American political historiography....Required reading for every serious student of the history of the American political process."--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"Provides a lucid analysis of political plunder, its context,consequences, and reform responses from Appomattox through the Compromise of1877. In the process Summers offers compelling insights into our postbellumpolitical culture, ideology, and propaganda that make The Era of Good Stealingsa milestone in American political historiography....Required reading for everyserious student of the history of the American political process."--Register ofthe Kentucky Historical Society
"Mark W. Summers has become this generation's reigning expert onhistorical political corruption, an academic Lincoln Steffens with anextraordinary command of his subject and an important message for hisreaders."--The Historian
"Mark W. Summers has become this generation's reigning expert on historical political corruption, an academic Lincoln Steffens with an extraordinary command of his subject and an important message for his readers."--The Historian
"Mark Summers's research is so thorough, his analysis so original, and hisprose so sprightly that the Era of Good Stealings becomes the book on politicalcorruption during the Civil War and Reconstruction....This is an impressivebook. Prodigious research in manuscripts, newspapers, and government documents,a wealth of telling quotations, a wryly witty style, and a host of provocativeinterpretations make this a work of historical scholarship at itsbest."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly
"Mark Summers's research is so thorough, his analysis so original, and his prose so sprightly that the Era of Good Stealings becomes the book on political corruption during the Civil War and Reconstruction....This is an impressive book. Prodigious research in manuscripts, newspapers, andgovernment documents, a wealth of telling quotations, a wryly witty style, and a host of provocative interpretations make this a work of historical scholarship at its best."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly
"It now appears safe to say that Mark Summers is the foremost authority onall varieties of political corruption in the Middle Period....He scarcely leavesa stone unturned....Summer's research is thoroughgoing, his analysis compellingand lively, and his careful point-counterpoint style is layered withqualifications and nuances-there are few black and white hats here. His depthand perspective makes this essential reading for students of postwar politicalculture and public life."--Civil War History
"Fresh, stimulating, and vigorously done, well worth the attention of specialists in Reconstruction and US political culture."--Choice
"Fresh, stimulating, and vigorously done, well worth the attention ofspecialists in Reconstruction and US political culture."--Choice
"It now appears safe to say that Mark Summers is the foremost authority on all varieties of political corruption in the Middle Period....He scarcely leaves a stone unturned....Summer's research is thoroughgoing, his analysis compelling and lively, and his careful point-counterpoint style islayered with qualifications and nuances-there are few black and white hats here. His depth and perspective makes this essential reading for students of postwar political culture and public life."--Civil War History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 1993
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Summaries
Main Description
Who, thinking of Reconstruction, fails to think of corruption? The Grant administration and the Great Barbecue remain inseparable in our minds. In his first book,The Plundering Generation, Mark W. Summers dealt with corruption and the breakdown of ethics in public life from 1849 to 1861. Now in a study of the post-Civil War years, he examines the aftermath of the war, when abuses of the public trust were all the fashion, from grafting South Carolina Republicans to plundering Tammany Hall delegates. Noting the effect of corruption on national politics during the era of Reconstruction, Summers nonetheless suggests the corruption issue may have had more important consequences than the misdeeds themselves. Indeed, the very forces that impelled corruption were the ones that defined and limited the character of reform. Official rascality raised the strongest possible argument for a scaled-down, cheap government, a professional civil service, and a retreat from Reconstruction. Without whitewashing villainy or blackguarding the liberal reformers, Summers re-examines the swindles, exposes the exaggerations and the self-interested motives of the accusers, and suggests ways in which the issue itself struck heavier blows at the way Americans governed themselves than did the acts of corruption.
Long Description
Who, thinking of Reconstruction, fails to think of corruption? The Grant administration and the Great Barbecue remain inseparable in our minds. In his first book, The Plundering Generation, Mark W. Summers dealt with corruption and the breakdown of ethics in public life from 1849 to 1861. Now in a study of the post-Civil War years, he examines the aftermath of the war, when abuses of the public trust were all the fashion, from grafting South Carolina Republicans to plundering Tammany Hall delegates. Noting the effect of corruption on national politics during the era of Reconstruction, Summers nonetheless suggests the corruption issue may have had more important consequences than the misdeeds themselves. Indeed, the very forces that impelled corruption were the ones that defined and limited the character of reform. Official rascality raised the strongest possible argument for a scaled-down, cheap government, a professional civil service, and a retreat from Reconstruction. Without whitewashing villainy or blackguarding the liberal reformers, Summers re-examines the swindles, exposes the exaggerations and the self-interested motives of the accusers, and suggests ways in which the issue itself struck heavier blows at the way Americans governed themselves than did the acts of corruption.
Main Description
Who, thinking of Reconstruction, fails to think of corruption? The Grant administration and the Great Barbecue remain inseparable in our minds. In his first book, The Plundering Generation, Mark W. Summers dealt with corruption and the breakdown of ethics in public life from 1849 to 1861.Now in a study of the post-Civil War years, he examines the aftermath of the war, when abuses of the public trust were all the fashion, from grafting South Carolina Republicans to plundering Tammany Hall delegates. Noting the effect of corruption on national politics during the era ofReconstruction, Summers nonetheless suggests the corruption issue may have had more important consequences than the misdeeds themselves. Indeed, the very forces that impelled corruption were the ones that defined and limited the character of reform. Official rascality raised the strongest possibleargument for a scaled-down, cheap government, a professional civil service, and a retreat from Reconstruction. Without whitewashing villainy or blackguarding the liberal reformers, Summers re-examines the swindles, exposes the exaggerations and the self-interested motives of the accusers, andsuggests ways in which the issue itself struck heavier blows at the way Americans governed themselves than did the acts of corruption.
Main Description
Who, thinking of Reconstruction, fails to think of corruption? The Grant administration and the Great Barbecue remain inseparable in our minds. In his first book, The Plundering Generation , Mark W. Summers dealt with corruption and the breakdown of ethics in public life from 1849 to 1861. Now in a study of the post-Civil War years, he examines the aftermath of the war, when abuses of the public trust were all the fashion, from grafting South Carolina Republicans to plundering Tammany Hall delegates. Noting the effect of corruption on national politics during the era of Reconstruction, Summers nonetheless suggests the corruption issue may have had more important consequences than the misdeeds themselves. Indeed, the very forces that impelled corruption were the ones that defined and limited the character of reform. Official rascality raised the strongest possible argument for a scaled-down, cheap government, a professional civil service, and a retreat from Reconstruction. Without whitewashing villainy or blackguarding the liberal reformers, Summers re-examines the swindles, exposes the exaggerations and the self-interested motives of the accusers, and suggests ways in which the issue itself struck heavier blows at the way Americans governed themselves than did the acts of corruption.
Table of Contents
All, All of a Piece Throughout: A Context for Corruption
The Era of Good Stealings?p. 3
"The Old Flag and an Appropriation"p. 16
"We Know That Money Was Used": 1868p. 30
"That Nauseous Muckhill"p. 46
Bohemians in Babylonp. 62
Sentinels and Tribunes: The "Independent" Pressp. 75
Thy Chase Had a Beast in View: Corruption and the New Political Economy
A Spoiled Peacep. 89
"A Fearful Amount of Greasing": The Lobbyp. 107
"Spigotry"p. 122
As Cities Expand, Shepherds Contractp. 137
Thy Wars Brought Nothing About: Corruption and the Old Politics, 1868-72
"Five Years of Good Stealing": The Corruption of Southern Reconstructionp. 153
"Honest Money": Liberal Reform and the Power of Moral Ideasp. 166
The Great Disappointmentp. 180
The Party of the Mighty Past Finds an Issuep. 200
"Turn the Rascals Out!": The Liberal Republican Debacle, 1872p. 215
Thy Lovers Were All Untrue: The Realignment That Failed, 1873-77
1873p. 231
Caesar, with Cigarp. 244
Turning the Rascals In: The Strange Survival of the Republican Partyp. 259
"We Waited for the Coming Man"p. 274
"Conscience Offers No Restraint": The Stolen Election, 1876-77p. 287
Epilogue and Coda: 'Tis Well an Old Age Is Out and Time to Begin Anewp. 300
Notesp. 309
Indexp. 379
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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