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Open Access Dissertation

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The scope of this study has been dictated by its methodology, which, in turn, has been determined by its aim. In order to formulate with precision a theory of political behavior for economic leaders of the mid-nineteenth century it is necessary to document the economic careers, ethnic origins, religious affiliations and family backgrounds of a carefully selected economic elite. What is obtained by the extensive documentation of over one-hundred and seventy-five individuals is the opportunity to study the relationship of these attributes to political affiliation. By tabulating these attributes against party affiliation, relationships were discovered which indicate that religious and ethno-cultural influences among certain groups affected political behavior more strongly than did economic factors. At the same time, other groups may have been influenced by their economic class position. When similar studies have been undertaken, it will be possible to develop precise generalizations concerning political behavior. Such generalizations are indispensible for a more complete understanding of the nature of poitical conflict in American life.