ORIGIN, MYTH OF THE “LOBBYIST”
On “The O’Reilly Factor” last Friday, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly were discussing the lobbyists in the Obama administration (a familiar theme here at RedState). Beck said that Obama probably thinks a lobbyist is someone who just stands in the lobby.
O’Reilly asked Beck if he knew what administration coined the term “lobbyist.” Beck guessed “Wilson” and “FDR.” O’Reilly said “lobbyist” was coined by Ulysses S. Grant, who sat smoking in the lobby of Washington’s Willard Hotel. “True story,” said O’Reilly.
This gets repeated over and over again and must stop now. I’ve written in to the show and we’ll see if he reads it tomorrow.
Here goes, from my website (a new entry, although I’d discussed this many years ago):
Entry from January 30, 2010
A “lobbyist” is one who engages in “lobbying”—trying to influence public officials (such as members of a legislature) to support the lobbyist’s position on legislation. The “lobbyist” term originally began as “lobby member” (one who frequents the lobby just outside where the public officials are). “Lobby member” is cited in print since 1814 and appears to have been first used in Albany, New York’s capital city. “Lobbying” is recorded in print since 1820 and “lobbyist” is recorded since 1849.
There is a myth that the term “lobbyist” was coined by President Ulysses S. Grant (in office from 1869-1877), who often visited Washington, D.C.’s Willard Hotel to smoke and engage in deals in its lobby. However, the word “lobbyist” had been in use long e Grant’s administration.
Lobbying is the practice of influencing decisions made by the government (in groups or individually). It includes all attempts to influence legislators and officials, whether by other legislators, constituents, or organized groups. A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby. Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying.
The BBC holds that “lobbying” comes from the gathering of Members of Parliament and peers in the hallways (or lobbies) of Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates. One story states that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was used by Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political wheelers and dealers frequenting the hotel’s lobby in order to access Grant, who was often found there, enjoying a cigar and brandy.
The term “lobbying” appeared in print as early as 1820:
“Other letters from Washington affirm, that members of the Senate, when the compromise question was to be taken in the House, were not only “lobbying about the Representatives’ Chamber” but also active in endeavoring to intimidate certain weak representatives by insulting threats to dissolve the Union.”
— April 1, 1820, New Hampshire Sentinel
Economist Thomas Sowell defends corporate lobbying as simply an example of a group having better knowledge of its interests than the people at large do of theirs.
The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee argued that while there are shortcomings in the regulation of the lobbying industry in the United Kingdom, “The practice of lobbying in order to influence political decisions is a legitimate and necessary part of the democratic process. Individuals and organisations reasonably want to influence decisions that may affect them, those around them, and their environment. Government in turn needs access to the knowledge and views that lobbying can bring.”
Wikipedia: Willard InterContinental Washington
The Willard InterContinental Washington is an historic luxury hotel located two blocks east of the White House in Washington, D.C. Among its facilities are numerous luxurious guest rooms, several restaurants, the famed Round Robin Bar, and voluminous function rooms. It is two blocks from the Metro Center station of the Washington Metro.
The hotel’s site, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, has accommodated guests since 1816, but the Willard was formally founded by Henry Willard when he bought the property in 1850. The present twelve-story structure, designed by famed hotel architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, opened in 1901; in 1922 it suffered a fire. It was for many years the only hotel from which one could easily visit all of downtown Washington, and has consequently hosted innumerable dignitaries in its history.
The Willard family sold its share of the hotel in 1946, and due to mismanagement the hotel closed in 1968. A lengthy legal battle ensued, at the end of which the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation purchased the property, held a competition and ultimately awarded it to the Oliver Carr Company and Golding Associates. The two partners then brought in the InterContinental Hotels Group to be a part owner and operator of the hotel. The Willard was subsequently restored to its turn-of-the-century elegance and an office-building contingent was added. The hotel was thus re-opened amid great celebration on August 20, 1986, which was attended by several Supreme Court Justices and distinguished senators such as Edward Kennedy. In the late 1990s, the hotel once again underwent significant restoration.
Many United States presidents have frequented the Willard, and every president since Franklin Pierce, including George W. Bush, has either slept in or attended an event at the hotel at least once; the hotel is hence also known as “the residence of presidents”. It was the habit of Ulysses S. Grant to drink brandy and smoke a cigar while relaxing in the lobby. Folklore, additionally promulgated by publicists for the hotel, holds that this is the origin of the term “lobbying”, as Grant was often approached by those seeking favors. However, this is probably false, as the verb to lobby is found decades earlier and did not originally refer to Washington politics.
What is a Lobbyist?
A lobbyist is an activist usually paid by an interest group to promote their positions to legislatures. A lobbyist can also work to change public opinion through advertising campaigns or by influencing ‘opinion leaders’ or pundits, thereby creating a climate for the change his or her employer desires. The word lobbyist comes from the chambers in which the act of lobbying usually takes place, an anteroom near legislative bodies, for instance, or even the lobby of hotels where important people are staying. In American politics, most lobbyist organizations are headquartered on or near K Street in Washington DC, so “K Street” has become somewhat synonymous for lobbying.
Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary
Main Entry: lobby
Inflected Form(s): lob·bied; lob·by·ing
: to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation
1 : to promote (as a project) or secure the passage of (as legislation) by influencing public officials
2 : to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action
— lob·by·er noun
— lob·by·ism -ˌi-zəm noun
— lob·by·ist -ist noun
OCLC WorldCat record
A speech without doors
Author: Lobby-member.; Miscellaneous Pamphlet Collection (Library of Congress)
Publisher: [London] : Printed for J. Williams …, 
Edition/Format: Book : English
13 April 1814, Spectator (New York, NY), pg. 2:
Mr. Root must have staggered the minds of the agents, lobby members, &c. if his sportive humor, or sarcastic wit, and, to use his own words, “solemn fact,” could have any effect;…
25 March 1817, Albany (NY) Register, pg. 2:
WILLIAM IRVING, who as chairman of a ward meeting in New-York, denounces DE WITT CLINTON for visiting Albany, has forgotten, perhaps, that three years ago he visited A;bany nearly a whole winter as a lobby member, to procure a cahrter for the City Bank.
21 February 1818, National Advocate (New York, NY), pg. 2:
He resides at Glen’s Falls, and has been heretofore employed to advocate, by extraneous influence, the petitions for charters, associations, &c. &c. which have been presented to different legislatures, and is well known as a lobby member.
6 March 1818, The American Beacon and Commercial Dairy (Norfolk, VA), pg. 2:
He … has been heretofore employed to advocate, by extraneous influence, the petitions for charters, associations, &c. &c. which have been presented to different legislatures, and is well known as a lobby member.
1 April 1820, New Hampshire Sentinel (NH), pg. 1:
The Senate has done little more than to meet and adjourn for some days;—and as I observed from the gallery, the members were rather lobbying about the Representatives chamber than engaged in discussion among themselves.
Other letters from Washington affirm, that members of the Senate, when the compromise question was to be taken in the House, were not only “lobbying about the Representatives’ Chamber,” but were active in endeavoring to intimidate certain weak representatives by insulting threats to dissolve the Union.
28 February 1825, New-Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette (NH), pg. 2:
See the jesuitical leader parading the lobbies … with a view to hunt and find out and proscribe the man who … had played what he calls the traitor to the lobby managers!
May 1826, The Reformer (Philadelphia, PA), pg. 70, col. 1:
Rumour says that several of these self-styled reverend divines have been guilty of lobbying for funds.
25 June 1827, New-Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette (NH), pg. 3:
We are sorry that these two divisions [of a party] should fall into a quarrel … Had not this untoward event occurred, the amalgamation might have lasted a year … Amalgamation expires with the dispersion of the lobby men!
The life and writings of Major Jack Downing [pseud.] of Downingville, away down East in the State of Maine
By Seba Smith
Boston, MA: Lilly, Wait, Colman & Holden
I fit the Legislater as long a fighting would do any good, that is, I mean in the caucus, for they wouldn’t let me go right into the (Pg. 174—ed.) Legislater in the day time and talk to ‘em there, because I was only a lobby member. But jest let them know it, lobby members can do as much as any of ‘em on sich kind of business as this.
April 1836, The Knickerbocker, or, New York Monthly Magazine (New York, NY), pg. 367:
…who I concluded was what they call in Albany a “lobby member.”
The United States of North America as they are; not as they are generally described: being a cure for radicalism
By Thomas Brothers
London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green & Longmans
Then there are the lobby-members, a race very little if any inferior to the real members. Your friend McIlwain, at that time the recorder of the city and county of Philadelphia, you know, Sir, was a lobby member, in the case of obtaining a charter for the bank. It is the business of a lobby member to bribe the real members, in any way that seemeth to them best. The following account of one of these members I take from a New York paper of last year.
A case is reported i nthe Journal of Commerce, tried before the Judge Ulchoeffer, New York, which was brought by the plaintiff to recover of the defendant compensation for work and labour done; amount claimed, 2000 dollars. The services rendered, and for which pay was claimed, were for “lobbying,” as it is usually called, or endeavouring to procure the passage of the Bergen Port Company bill, by the legislature of New Jersey, in 1837.
June 1840, The Knickerbocker, or New York Monthly Magazine (New York, NY), pg. 466:
“Must I exhaust my small means in lobbying, and log-rolling, and making legislative bergains, to secure me that which is mine own?”
Notes on the United States of North America during a phrenological visit in 1838-9-40
By George Combe
Edinburgh: Maclachlan, Stewart & Company
A gentleman who has been a member of the senate of Pennsylvania informed me, that the same mischievous machinery is at work in their legilsature. There is extensive jobbing and trating relative to private bills, or bills for the establishment of public companies. The parties who apply for the bill, or their agents, come to harrisburg while the legislature is in session, and, under pretence of explaining the subject to the members, flatter them, give them suppers, and open their understandings by means of plentiful libations of wine. Many of the representatives are men from county districts, of (Pg. 34—ed.) little education, and humble fortune, but of unquestionable integrity, who would reject with indignation a money bribe, but who unconsciously fall before personal flatteries and champagne. The technical name for these practices is “lobbying.”
In the legislature of New York, some years ago, “lobbying” was reduced to a system. The agents for the various private bills concerted their measures together, and made up lists of all the members of the legislature, specifying those whom they could influence absolutely, those whom they could probably carry, and those (a very small remnant) who were altogether independent; and after “the order of the day,” or list of business before the chambers, was published, they met in a tavern, and took the “yeas and nays” on every bill in which they were interested, either pro or con. The first bill, for instance, was named; (probably one for a charter to a bank); the roll of the representatives was then called, and the different agents answered “yea” or “nay” for the members respectively whose votes they could command. When this was finished, the independent members were distributed according to the best estimate which the agents could form of their probable course of action; the balance was then struck, and the announcement regularly made, the “yeas” or the “nays” have it. So complete was this machinery, and so perfect the sagacity with which the opinions of the independent members were guessed at, that the decisions of the chambers became ludicrous echoes of those of the “lobby!”
31 July 1849, New Hampshire Gazette (NH), pg. 2:
This interest and this feeling were taken advantage of and subjected to a constant stimulation by a score of indefatigable lobbyists, who kept up an untiring attack upon the members.
Google News Archive
29 August 1986, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Renovated Willard crowns born-again D.C. downtown” by Ira Krasnow, pt. 3, pg. 3, col. 1:
Ulysses Grant coined the term “lobbyist” in the hotel lobby.
February 1987, Orange Coast Magazine (CA), “Wake Up to Willard in Washington, D.C>“ by Janet Eastman, pg. 120, col. 3:
You’ll overheat them repeating the stories about Ulysses S. Grant, who often walked the few blocks from the Oval Office to the hotel lobby to spend an evening people-watching, smoking Havana Perfecto cigars, and listening to deal makers (whom he called “lobbyists,” thus coining a new occupation).
FOXNews.com – The O’Reilly Factor
Title: Mr. Popular!
Published: Fri, 29 Jan 2010
Description: Glenn Beck on being named second most popular person on TV
GLENN BECK: Maybe he thinks “lobbyist” means people who were just standing in the lobby.
BILL O’REILLY: Right.
GLENN BECK: I need somebody with more credentials than someone just standing in the lobby.
BILL O’REILLY: Do you know what president coined the term?
GLENN BECK: Lobbyist?
BILL O’REILLY: Yeah.
GLENN BECK: Probably FDR…or Wilson.
BILL O’REILLY: U.S. Grant. U.S. Grant. Because they were waiting for Grand in the lobby of the Willard Hotel, but he was drunk and they’d get him when he weaved down out of the bar That’s a true story.
GLENN BECK USES ANOTHER FAKE THOMAS JEFFERSON QUOTE
Remember last Thanksgiving when I told Glenn Beck that I’d gladly work for free and re-check all the quotes he uses? Can someone get the message to him that this cannot continue, misinforming millions of viewers?
Friday’s show was a nice talk about the progressive movement, featuring top scholars in the field. Then Beck showed them a “Thomas Jefferson” quote that I’ve found since only 2000. It had already been on a “Bogus Quotes Attributed to the Founders” list AND the authoritative “Thomas Jefferson Encylcopedia” had listed it as bogus.
At the beginning of the 2010, Beck said that he has a large, wonderful staff that does wonderful research. Why blot a wonderful show with something this stupid? I’M A PENNILESS SCHOLAR! I WORK FOR FREE!
I know–I’m the only guy who noticed, and who cares if Thomas Jefferson said it? Well, if you want to honor Thomas Jefferson at all, you at least try to tell the truth about what he said and did.
Entry from January 30, 2010
“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government…”
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) did write, in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, the following: “…in questions of power then, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”
Jefferson did not write the following quotation that is frequently credited to him: “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
The Jefferson misquotation appears in April 2000 in an essay, “Rule by Bute Force,” by Steve Kubby of the American Medical Marijuana Association.
Wikipedia: Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States. Jefferson envisioned America as the force behind a great “Empire of Liberty” that would promote republicanism and counter the imperialism of the British Empire.
Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of th