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An Unclean Vessel: Thomas Lanier Clingman and the 'Railroad Ring'


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Abstract:
An examination of the post-Civil War political activities of North Carolina Congressman and Senator, Thomas Lanier Clingman, which provides a look into the issues, power struggles, and personalities of North Carolina politics during the first two decades after the Civil War. Particular attention is given to Clingman's involvement in the \"railroad ring\" fraud orchestrated by George W. Swepson and Milton S. Littlefield, in which Swepson invested $843,633 dollars of state appropriated bond sales proceeds meant for use in expansion of state railroads into three Florida railroads for personal profits, aided by Littlefield's bribery and manipulation of legislators. Clingman's role as Swepson's attorney put him in the thick of the controversy and prevented a resurgence of his political career.
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Record #:
21538