Portrait of an Age: The Political Career of Stephen W. Dorsey, 1868-1889

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This study traces the public life of Stephen Dorsey chronologically from his service in the Civil War to the end of his political career, which came with his failure to have a friend appointed governor of New Mexico Territory in 1889. Traditional interpretations of Dorsey are based on a combination of scant evidence, carpetbagger stereotypes, and the assumption that he was guilty of masterminding the monumental swindle of the Star Route Frauds. Closer examination of Dorsey's public life, however, reveals that this traditional view is distorted. A major conclusion of this study is that the assumption on which most traditional ... continued below

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x, 447 leaves : map

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Lowry, Sharon K. May 1980.

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  • Lowry, Sharon K.

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This study traces the public life of Stephen Dorsey chronologically from his service in the Civil War to the end of his political career, which came with his failure to have a friend appointed governor of New Mexico Territory in 1889. Traditional interpretations of Dorsey are based on a combination of scant evidence, carpetbagger stereotypes, and the assumption that he was guilty of masterminding the monumental swindle of the Star Route Frauds. Closer examination of Dorsey's public life, however, reveals that this traditional view is distorted. A major conclusion of this study is that the assumption on which most traditional views of Dorsey are based, that he was the mastermind behind the Star Route Frauds, is not supported by the evidence. This study shows that it is impossible to study a Gilded Age political figure without also considering his business interests. Many of Dorsey's political activities, for example his involvement in the Compromise of 1877, can be traced to his business enterprises. Although Dorsey was not entirely innocent in the frauds, he was not guilty of the crimes with which the government charged him. This study also concludes that Dorsey was left vulnerable to the prosecution which ended his career in national politics by the peculiarly personal nature of the Republican party in the Gilded Age. That personal control had contributed to Dorsey's rise to power in the Republican party; it also led to his destruction.

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x, 447 leaves : map

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  • May 1980

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  • Oct. 8, 2018, 4:29 p.m.

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Lowry, Sharon K. Portrait of an Age: The Political Career of Stephen W. Dorsey, 1868-1889, dissertation, May 1980; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc332211/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .