Hagley Author Talk Discusses Lobbying and Politics in 20th Century America

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Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse explores the role that large, national business associations—and their lobbyists—played in shaping economic policy and conservative politics between the 1960s and the 1990s.

Benjamin Waterhouse

“Many business leaders responded to the crises of the 1970s by seeking to change the federal government’s policies,” explained Roger Horowitz, director of Hagley’s Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society.

Hagley Museum and Library welcomes Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse for his Author Talk, “Lobbying: The Business of Politics and the Politics of Business in America,” on Thursday, November 20. Dr. Waterhouse will describe the important changes in how lobbyists—particularly corporate lobbyists—got their way (and sometimes didn’t) in Washington, D.C., in the mid and late 20th century. The talk begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Reservations are requested; call (302) 658-2400, ext. 243, or email clockman@hagley.org. The lecture will be held in the Soda House auditorium. Use Hagley’s Buck Road East entrance off Route 100 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Lobbying in America is older than the nation, and shaped everything from colonial taxes to charters for canal builders, from patents for six-shooters to the text of the Constitution. But recently lobbying has become far more pervasive. “Many business leaders responded to the crises of the 1970s by seeking to change the federal government’s policies,” explained Roger Horowitz, director of Hagley’s Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society. “Waterhouse’s talk will explain their objectives and successes, along with their frustration at finding themselves just one voice among many vying for influence in America’s divided government.”

This Hagley Author Talk is based upon Dr. Waterhouse’s recently published book, Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA (Princeton University Press, 2014). Lobbying America explores the role that large, national business associations—and their lobbyists—played in shaping economic policy and conservative politics between the 1960s and the 1990s. For his book, Dr. Waterhouse accessed the following collections at Hagley Library: Conference Board Papers, Charles B. McCoy Papers, National Association of Manufacturers Archives, Philip Reed Papers, and United States Chamber of Commerce Archives.

About Benjamin Waterhouse
Benjamin C. Waterhouse is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Waterhouse studies American politics, political culture, and capitalism in the 20th century. He is interested in contests between economic groups, including business, labor, and the political class, and how the relationships among them shaped the broader contours of the American political tradition and American economic development.

About Hagley Museum and Library
At Hagley, we invite people of all ages to investigate and experience the unfolding history of American business, technology, and innovation, and its impact on the world, from our home at the historic DuPont powder yards on the banks of the Brandywine.
For more information, call (302) 658-2400 weekdays or visit http://www.hagley.org.
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