Advanced Search
Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

Corporations, Corruption, and the Modern Lobby: A Gilded Age Story of the West and the South in Washington, DC

Stanford University
Published April 16, 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:

Part 2White describes the lengths both men went to in an attempt to gain subsidies and credit for their respective railroads 

Part 3White shows how Scott and Huntington cultivated political “friendships” to gain corporate influence in federal government

Part 4White addresses questions about the on-going significance of transcontinental railroads and competition

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.