An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
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  • Corporations, Corruption, and the Modern Lobby: A Gilded Age Story of the West and the South in Washington, DC

    Richard White, Stanford University

    16 April 2009

    Arguing that "we cannot fully understand our system of governance or the economic world we have created without understanding how corporations have comandeered the political process in order to compete with each other," Richard White revisits the late nineteenth century railroad wars between Tom Scott and Collis P. Huntington. He discusses how these powerful and desperate men created strategies of finance, communication, and politics, as well as "friendship" networks in order to shape beneficial relationships with the federal government—practices that continue in the present.

    Corporations, Corruption, and the Modern Lobby:

    Use the scroller to the right of the playlist to watch all four parts of the talk.


    About Richard White:

    Richard White is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University. He has written widely about the American West, Native American History and environmental history. He has won numerous awards including a Pulitzer Prize nomination, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, and the Kahn Award for Distinguished Teaching from Stanford University. Prof. White is a former president of the Western Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. "Corporations, Corruption, and the Modern Lobby," was presented on March 19, 2009 as the J. Harvey Young Lecture sponsored by Emory University's Department of History.

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    Recommended Resources:

    Print Materials:
    White, Richard. Land Use, Environment, and Social Change: The Shaping of Island County, Washington. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979.

    ———. The Roots of Dependency: Subsistence, Environment, and Social Change Among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.

    ———. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

    ———. "It's Your Misfortune and None of my Own": A History of the American West. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

    ———. The Frontier in American Culture: An Exhibition at the Newberry Library, August 26, 1994–January 7, 1995, with Patricia Nelson Limerick, edited by James Grossman. University of California, 1994.

    ———. The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996.

    ———. Remembering Ahanagran: A History of Stories. New York: Hill and Wang, 1998.

    Wooward, C. Vann. Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966.

    Railroad Maps, 1828–1900. This American Memory collection from the Library of Congress illustrates the development of industry and agriculture in the United States through official government surveys, promotional maps, route guides published by commercial firms, and other primary sources.

    Transcontinental Railroad. This PBS American Experience site contains resources for the film of the same name, which include a timeline, profiles of important figures, and archival images.

    White, Richard. "Corruption in America's Gilded Age." HBS Working Knowledge. August 4, 2003.

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