Leon Abbett's New Jersey: The Emergence of the Modern Governor

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American Philosophical Society, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 349 pages
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.
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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...
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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.

About the author (2001)

Hogarty is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a senior fellow of that institution's John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs.

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