Public Choice

, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 311-326

First online:

Veterans interests and the transition to government growth: 1870–1915

  • Randall G. HolcombeAffiliated withFlorida State University

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Civil War veterans were the first interest group to use their political power to obtain substantial monetary transfers from the U.S. Treasury. Veterans supported the Republican party, and in exchange Republicans provided increasingly generous veterans benefits, placing a strain on the Treasury that led toward a demand for increased taxes. Veterans also established a precedent that other groups could follow to petition the goverment for economic benefits, shaping the transformation of American government in the Progressive era which led to the substantial growth of the federal government in the 20th century.