Corruption in America: from Benjamin Franklin's snuff box to Citizens United

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Pub. Date:
2014.
Language:
English
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When Louis XVI presented Benjamin Franklin with a snuff box encrusted with diamonds and inset with the King's portrait, the gift troubled Americans: it threatened to "corrupt" Franklin by clouding his judgment or altering his attitude toward the French in subtle psychological ways. This broad understanding of political corruption--rooted in ideals of civic virtue--was a driving force at the Constitutional Convention.

For two centuries the framers' ideas about corruption flourished in the courts, even in the absence of clear rules governing voters, civil officers, and elected officials. Should a law that was passed by a state legislature be overturned because half of its members were bribed? What kinds of lobbying activity were corrupt, and what kinds were legal? When does an implicit promise count as bribery? In the 1970s the U.S. Supreme Court began to narrow the definition of corruption, and the meaning has since changed dramatically. No case makes that clearer than Citizens United .

In 2010, one of the most consequential Court decisions in American political history gave wealthy corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion treated corruption as nothing more than explicit bribery, a narrow conception later echoed by Chief Justice Roberts in deciding McCutcheon v. FEC in 2014. With unlimited spending transforming American politics for the worse, warns Zephyr Teachout, Citizens United and McCutcheon were not just bad law but bad history. If the American experiment in self-government is to have a future, then we must revive the traditional meaning of corruption and embrace an old ideal.

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ISBN:
9780674050402
9781494527945
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID dbb2ea57-b840-7862-4ace-cb2b0c4743f8
Grouping Title corruption in america from benjamin franklins snuff box to citizens united
Grouping Author teachout zephyr
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-03-01 03:57:15AM
Last Indexed 2019-04-20 04:27:37AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Perrin, Jo Anna,
author Teachout, Zephyr,
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display_description In 2010, one of the most consequential Court decisions in American political history gave wealthy corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion treated corruption as nothing more than explicit bribery, a narrow conception later echoed by Chief Justice Roberts in deciding McCutcheon v. FEC in 2014. With unlimited spending transforming American politics for the worse, warns Zephyr Teachout, Citizens United and McCutcheon were not just bad law but bad history. If the American experiment in self-government is to have a future, then we must revive the traditional meaning of corruption and embrace an old ideal.
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subject_facet Judicial corruption -- United States -- History, Political corruption -- United States -- History, Political culture -- United States, United States -- Politics and government -- Moral and ethical aspects
title_display Corruption in America : from Benjamin Franklin's snuff box to Citizens United
title_full Corruption in America : from Benjamin Franklin's snuff box to Citizens United / Zephyr Teachout, Corruption in America : from Benjamin Franklin's snuff box to Citizens United [electronic resource] / Zephyr Teachout
title_short Corruption in America :
title_sub from Benjamin Franklin's snuff box to Citizens United
topic_facet History, Judicial corruption, Moral and ethical aspects, Political corruption, Political culture, Politics and government