Michael Bailey

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Joshua Chamberlain is a revered hero of the Civil War, an icon for both scholars and the broader public. His life after the Civil War, however, remains largely unexplored. This article uses Chamberlain’s addresses, legislative records, and other primary sources to explore his four-year career as governor of Maine. Reflecting an interesting national parallel, this article reveals Chamberlain’s rise, his policies, and the consequences of those policies. Having risen to political prominence with the Republican Party thanks to the popularity of the Civil War, Chamberlain and his party enacted a number of policies designed to promote industrialization and economic growth in Maine. These policies, however, contributed significantly to a growing economic inequality that would then define the later nineteenth-century “Gilded Age” and spark notable backlash in the form of the oft-ignored Greenback Party. Michael Bailey is a student at the University of Maine pursuing a degree in history. His research interests focus on issues pertaining to class in early American history. He has worked as a state-government Intern for the Maine Department of Labor, where he produced a history of labor laws in the State of Maine for use by the department and for the state legislature’s reference needs.