Leon Abbett's New Jersey: The Emergence of the Modern Governor
Following in the succession of his 25 predecessors, Leon Abbett twice served as governor of New Jersey in the late 19nth century. A lifelong Democrat, he was a dynamic and visionary party leader who guided the citizens of New Jersey into a new urban industrial age. While he was a machine politician and party boss, he was also a notable reformer. That was a formidable combination for his time. Grappling with a series of hot political issues and braving the passions and divisions spawned by the Civil War, Abbett was one of the ablest and most intriguing men ever to be governor. Several new ideas were transformed into public policy during his tenure. Both in style and strategy, Abbett represented a sharp break from his predecessors. He was a prime example of a governor who both in crisis and in ordinary times broadened gubernatorial authority. He became both a policy and party leader. In this context, he was an important forerunner to a type of governor that had not yet appeared on the American political stage.
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Page 218 - It is vain to contend with judges who have been at the bar the advocates for forty years of rail road companies, and all the forms of associated capital, when they are called upon to decide cases where such interests are in contest. All their training, all their feelings are from the start in favor of those who need no such influence.
Page 220 - While it requires of the companies the payment of one-half of 1 per cent, for state purposes, it so guards against imposition, in the assessment of local taxes, that in no case can a company be forced to pay more than the local rate, but may pay much less. If there be any inequality, it is favorable to the companies, and of this they have no legal right to complain. It is the injured party who has the right to move for the correction of errors. But it is contended that the act of 1884 is in violation...
Page 68 - Jackson's veto of the recharter of the Second Bank of the United States and his subsequent deposit of government funds in state banks combined to produce an economic depression of serious proportions.
Page 58 - ... day of trouble left it to the organization to make him governor as it had made him judge. As he said, he " waited where he was " in dignified silence for the office and the people to come to him, and, while he waited, Leon Abbett, who went to the people, was elected. Jersey's Best Man Abbett had to go to the people. It seems to me that this most interesting man was an instinctive democrat, and would naturally have campaigned the state, county by county, as he did. But no two Jersey witnesses...
Page 95 - From 1826 to I860' (Ph.D. dissertation, Clark University, 1976): 262-63; Dennis Clark, 'Urban Blacks and Irishmen: Brothers in Prejudice', in Miriam Ershkowitz and Joseph Zikmund II, eds, Black Politics in Philadelphia, New York 1973, 20-21; Berlin and Gutman, 'Natives and Immigrants', 1196. 10. Robert Cantwell, Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old Southern Sound, Urbana, 111.
Page 90 - There is not perhaps anywhere to be found a city in which prejudice against color is more rampant than in Philadelphia.
Page 279 - Muckraker Lincoln Steffens wrote in his autobiography: "I had begun to suspect that, whenever a man in public life was called a demagogue, there was something good in him, something dangerous to the system." But the popular conception of the word was given most eloquently by a president not known for his eloquence, Calvin Coolidge: "the final approval of the people is given not to demagogues, slavishly pandering to their selfishness, merchandising with the...
Page 83 - We see in it four hundred boys selected from all classes of society, without respect to rank or patronage, whose only certificate of admission is superiority of talent and capacity for learning, — whose only certification for continuance is industry and good conduct. Here are seen, side by side, the child of the judge and the child of the laborer, the children of the physician, the merchant, the lawyer, and the manufacturer, in the same class with those of the bricklayer, the carter, the cordwainer,...
Page 302 - He did things whether in his first term or second. He was the party boss; he used his gubernatorial powers to their limits; he forced, when needs be, the passage of acts of which he approved; often he saw to it that bills passed by the Legislature should not be turned over to him until close to the end of the session so that there was seldom an opportunity given to override his veto.