An Excerpt from Wicked Virginia City

I love this caricature of William M. Stewart addressing the U.S. Senate. The lawyer-turned-politician made a pile of money from Virginia City mining-claims litigation, and then served as a U.S. senator from Nevada for nearly 30 years. Unlike today, members of congress did not have a staff and often hired newspaper reporters willing to moonlight. Enter Mark Twain. Twain worked for Senator Stewart for a time, and later used his experience as fodder for his book “The Gilded Age” (1873). Mark Twain did not have a very high regard for elected officials, as is evident from this quote: “Suppose you were an idiot. Now suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

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