Congress in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

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Between 1875 and 1917, Congress became more complex, institutionally more formalized, and its members more careerist. As lobbying grew more sophisticated, outside influences on it were growing as well. Popular impressions to the contrary, Congress was neither in the plutocrats' pockets nor a cluster of dilatory nincompoops. Members worked hard and, when the same party controlled both the White House and Capitol Hill, worked effectively. In a fiercely partisan age, party discipline was often strict, but cooperation across party lines was common. Where rigid partisan positions did not bar the way, lawmakers worked together readily. Even in the age of "laissez-faire" Congress was reshaping the nation's political economy. Yet, though ever more activist, its relative power dwindled. A burgeoning executive branch and an assertive Supreme Court took over much of the policy-making once left almost exclusively to the people's representatives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781118913994
StatePublished - Jan 14 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Bipartisanship
  • Chinese exclusion
  • Committee system
  • Congress
  • Corruption
  • Executive power
  • Gilded age
  • House of representatives
  • Insurgency
  • Laissez-Faire
  • Lobbying
  • Obstructiveness
  • Progressive era
  • Regulatory state
  • Senate
  • Seniority
  • Supreme court
  • Thomas Brackett Reed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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