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Yes, I believe lobbying is closely tied to historical traditions and elements in American government that date in some ways back to the colonial era, but most closely resemble, to me, the politics of the Gilded Age in the late 19th century.
Politics at that time was very corrupt, and those with the money to buy influence or to hire professionals as their own advocates could easily and effectively change US policy. While the type of bribery and corruption that was typical of that era is not exactly the same as the modern day lobbyist, there are still some striking similarities.
We also see a rise in the number of those attempting to influence government that corresponds to a rise in industrialization in the mid to late 1800s.
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