The Quest to Define the Public Good; Supreme Court Jurisprudence and the Right to Contract by Dominick Violetta

 During the Gilded Age, we see the development of modern industrial capitalism. There was a society wide attempt to understand what that meant for conceptions of democratic good. Two general ideals emerged. One was the "Mugwump" which was an attempt to make Jeffersonian values deal with the challenges of modernity. The other was more modern "progressive" vision, which saw government as a collective response to collective problems. The Supreme Court in the Gilded Age is engaged in a dialogue on this exact problem, and the cases in this era should be viewed in this light.

This webstie will look at the long struggle to reach and consensus on what the best way to attain the public good was. Starting in the eighteen seventies, and going up until the infamous Lochner v. New York, we see the court issue several landmark rulings in the Gilded Age. Lochner, a famously derided ruling, will serve as the anchoring point.