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The Won CauseBlack and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic$
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Barbara A. Gannon

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834527

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877708_gannon

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And If Spared and Growing Older

And If Spared and Growing Older

(p.131) 10 And If Spared and Growing Older
The Won Cause

Barbara A. Gannon

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows how one of the activities directly related to the cost of veterans' service—the GAR's struggle to secure veterans' pensions—has affected how scholars view this organization. Early studies of this group, including Mary Dearing's, focused on the GAR as a political interest group lobbying for these pensions. According to Dearing, “at the height of their influence[, the GAR and its members] . . . were able to command benefits which cost the federal government more than one-fifth of its total revenue.” Dearing's distaste for both the GAR's political activities and the pensions veterans received is evident throughout her study. The author of another study of the Civil War pension system presented a similarly jaundiced view, describing these payments as a “system of exploitation by which the more mercenary element among the old soldiers was engaged in exploiting the grateful esteem of the northern public.”

Keywords:   GAR, veterans' pensions, Mary Dearing, political interest group, federal government, political activities, Civil War pension system

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