Counterfeiting Labor's Voice

William A. A. Carsey and the Shaping of American Reform Politics
Author: Mark A. Lause
A profile of a pioneering political operator
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 04/09/2024
Cloth: 04/09/2024
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

Confidence man and canny operative, charlatan and manipulator--William A. A. Carsey emerged from the shadow of Tammany Hall to build a career undermining working-class political organizations on behalf of the Democratic Party. Mark A. Lause’s biography of Carsey takes readers inside the bare-knuckle era of Gilded Age politics. A trailblazer in astroturfing tactics and master of dirty tricks, Carsey fit perfectly into a Democratic Party that based much of its post-Civil War revival on shattering third parties and gathering up the pieces. Lause provides an in-depth look at Carsey’s tactics and successes against the backdrop of enormous changes in political life. As Carsey used a carefully crafted public persona to burrow into unsuspecting organizations, the forces he represented worked to create a political system that turned voters into disengaged civic consumers and cemented America’s ever-fractious two-party system.

About the Author

Mark A. Lause is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Cincinnati. His many books include Free Spirits: Spiritualism, Republicanism, and Radicalism in the Civil War Era and Free Labor: The Civil War and the Making of an American Working Class.

Also by this author

Young America coverRace and Radicalism in the Union Army coverA Secret Society History of the Civil War coverFree Labor cover



“Lause, one of our most talented historians of nineteenth-century America, spotlights the influential political huckster William A. A. Carsey. More than a century before the Tea Party’s phony ‘grass roots’ mobilizations, the underhanded techniques Carsey and his allies employed kept laborers from forming their own independent political organizations. An excellent study with a convincing answer to the age-old question: why no Labor Party in the U.S.?”--Chad E. Pearson, author of Capital's Terrorists: Klansmen, Lawmen, and Employers in the Long Nineteenth Century