Alexander William Doniphan (1808-1887)--Missouri attorney, military figure, politician, and businessman--is one of the most significant figures in antebellum Missouri. From the 1830s to the 1880s, Doniphan was active in a variety of affairs in Missouri and held firm to several underlying principles, including loyalty, hard work, the sanctity of the republic, and commitment to Christian charity. However, the key to Doniphan's importance was his persistent moderation on the critical issues of his day.
Doniphan became a household name when he served as the commanding officer of the famed First Missouri Mounted Volunteers during the Mexican-American War. It was during this time that he won two battles, established an Anglo-American-based democracy in New Mexico, and paved the way for the annexation of the territory that became New Mexico and Arizona. He is also recognized by the Mormons for his assistance to their beleaguered church during Missouri's "Mormon War" and for his refusal to execute Joseph Smith when ordered to do so by his commanding officer.
Although Doniphan was a slaveholding unionist, he sought a middle ground to stave off war in the 1850s and early 1860s and served as a delegate to the Washington Peace Conference in 1861. When conflict escalated along the western border of Missouri in 1862, Doniphan moved to St. Louis, where he worked as a lawyer with the Missouri Claims Commission, seeking pensions for refugees.
Doniphan early adopted the Whig ideal of the "positive liberal state" and sought to use the power of government to remake society into something better. Once he saw the heavy-handed use of state power during Reconstruction, however, Doniphan reversed his views on the role of the government in society. For the rest of his life, he resisted government incursions into the lives of the people and sought to restore a healthy Union.
Alexander William Doniphan will be of interest to academic specialists and general readers alike, especially those interested in Mormon studies, Missouri history, military history, and Western history.
One man was tongue-tied and awkward around women, in many ways a mama's boy at heart, although his reputation for thuggery was well earned. The other was a playboy, full of easy charm and ready jokes, his appetite for high living a matter of public record. One man tolerated gangsters and bootleggers as long as they paid their dues to his organization. The other was effectively a gangster himself, so crooked that he hosted a national gathering of America's most ruthless killers. One man never drank alcohol. The other, from all evidence, seldom drank anything else.
American Dictators is the dual biography of two of America’s greatest political bosses: Frank Hagueand Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. Packed with compelling information and written in an informal, sometimes humorous style, the book shows Hague and Johnson at the peak of their power and the strength of their political machines during the years of Prohibition and the Great Depression. Steven Hart compares how both men used their influence to benefit and punish the local citizenry, amass huge personal fortunes, and sometimes collaborate to trounce their enemies.
Similar in their ruthlessness, both men were very different in appearance and temperament. Hague, the mayor of Jersey City, intimidated presidents and wielded unchallenged power for three decades. He never drank and was happily married to his wife for decades. He also allowed gangsters to run bootlegging and illegal gambling operations as long as they paid protection money. Johnson, the political boss of Atlantic City, and the inspiration for the hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire, presided over corruption as well, but for a shorter period of time. He was notorious for his decadent lifestyle. Essentially a gangster himself, Johnson hosted the infamous Atlantic City conference that fostered the growth of organized crime.
Both Hague and Johnson shrewdly integrated otherwise disenfranchised groups into their machines and gave them a stake in political power. Yet each failed to adapt to changing demographics and circumstances. In American Dictators, Hart paints a balanced portrait of their accomplishments and their failures.
Browse our collection.
See BiblioVault's publisher services.
Files for college accessibility offices.
UChicago Accessibility Resources
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press