Municipal Accountability in the American Age of Reform

The Gadfly at the Counter, 1870–1920

  • David Ress

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. David Ress
    Pages 1-13
  3. David Ress
    Pages 15-24
  4. David Ress
    Pages 25-40
  5. David Ress
    Pages 41-59
  6. David Ress
    Pages 61-78
  7. David Ress
    Pages 79-93
  8. David Ress
    Pages 95-114
  9. David Ress
    Pages 115-122
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 123-128

About this book


At the foundations of our modern conception of open government are a handful of disgruntled citizens in the Progressive Era who demanded accountability from their local officials, were rebuffed, and then brought their cases to court. Drawing on newspaper accounts, angry letters to editors, local histories, and court records, David Ress uncovers a number of miniature yet critical moments in the history of government accountability, tracing its decline as the gap between citizens and officials widened with the idea of the community as corporation and citizens as consumers. Together, these moments tell the story of how a nation thought about democracy and the place of the individual in an increasingly complex society, with important lessons for policy makers, journalists, and activists today.


Gilded Age Progressive Era the age of reform in America government accountability government in the Gilded Age American jurisprudence William M. Tweed right of access to public records gadfly American democracy incorporated municipalities municipal government authority John F. Dillon Thomas M. Cooley Home Rule People's Party Progressive movement municipal administration municipal politics American urban governance

Authors and affiliations

  • David Ress
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-68257-0
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-68258-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site