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Against the Profit Motive – The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780-1940 - Yale Scholarship Online
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Against the Profit Motive: The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780-1940

Nicholas R. Parrillo


In America today, a public official's lawful income consists of a salary. But until a century ago, the law frequently authorized officials to make money on a profit-seeking basis. Prosecutors won a fee for each defendant convicted. Tax collectors received a cut of each evasion uncovered. Naval officers took a reward for each ship sunk. The list goes on. This book is the first to document American government's “for-profit” past, to discover how profit-seeking defined officials' relationship to the citizenry, and to explain how lawmakers—by banishing the profit motive in favor of the salary—tran ... More

Keywords: public officials, prosecutors, tax, for-profit past, profit-seeking, salary, government

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780300176582
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300176582.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Nicholas R. Parrillo, author