NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Jeffery A. Jenkins

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December 2005Who Should Govern Congress? Access to Power and the Salary Grab of 1873
with Lee J. Alston, Tomas Nonnenmacher: w11908
We examine the politics of the %u201CSalary Grab%u201D 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 reform effort to reshape %u201Cwho should govern Congress.%u201D Our analyses of congressional voting confirm the existence of this non-party elite coalition. While 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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