Front Cover

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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Editor’s Preface

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pp. vii-viii

Although there is no biblical injunction declaring, “Ye shall have campaign finance reform with you forever,” this issue, much like the poor, appears to be perennial and refuses to go away. As the authors in this money and politics are not new issues that emerged in the late twentieth century, but are problems that date to the early Republic and...

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Introduction: Does Money Buy Policy?

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pp. 1-3

Money in politics is a funny thing. By legend and cliché, money is the “mother’s milk of politics,” that which keeps party machinery working and campaigns running. It is also the focus of generations of suspicion and complaint. From the advent of the “spoils system” in the early nineteenth century to the PACs and “soft money” of...

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Campaigns and Potato Chips; Or Some Causes and Consequences of Political Spending

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pp. 4-29

Before getting too upset about the initially eye-popping sums candidates spend to win elections, law professor (and current member of the Federal Election Commission) Bradley A. Smith advises us to put campaign costs in perspective. Americans, he notes, spent two or three times more on potato chips than on electing candidates in the mid-1990s. For Smith, the potato chip example...

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The First Federal Campaign Finance Bills

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pp. 30-48

Early in 1839, a congressional investigation into campaign fund-raising at the U.S. customhouse in New York first brought to public attention a problem in democracy that we still are trying to solve: Who should pay for our politics? By 1839, the deferential political system of the colonial era, in which...

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“To Make the Wheels Revolve We Must Have Grease”: Barrel Politics in the Gilded Age

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pp. 49-72

It was a typical election year in Philadelphia. The nation’s freedom lay at peril, and everything depended on thousands of day laborers, up for sale at one to five dollars apiece on election day. That, at any rate, was what one observer warned Republicans in 1868. “Whichever party is the most plentifully supplied with the ‘root’ will...

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Seeds of Cynicism: The Struggle over Campaign Finance, 1956–1974

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pp. 73-111

“It is a cesspool, it is a source of infection for the body politic,” Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-Minn.) warned his fellow senators in 1973 about the private financing of elections. “[I]f it doesn’t stop, there are going to be good men in this hall right here today who are going down the drain, not that you are...

Contributors

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pp. 112-112