In Electoral Capitalism, Jeffrey D. Broxmeyer reappraises the controversy over wealth inequality, and why the late nineteenth century was so combustible. As ranks of the dispossessed swelled, an outpouring of claims transformed the old spoils system into relief for the politically connected poor. A vibrant but scorned culture of petty officeholding thus emerged. Examining New York, and its outsized role in national affairs, Broxmeyer demonstrates that electoral capitalism was a category of entrepreneurship in which the capture of public office and the accumulation of wealth were mutually reinforcing. The book uncovers hidden economic ties that wove together presidents, senators, and mayors with business allies, spoilsmen, and voters. As current public debates invite parallels with the Gilded Age, Broxmeyer offers historical and theoretical tools to make sense of how politics begets wealth.
Written by Jeffrey D. Broxmeyer
Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Toledo
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