This article argues that Mark Twain’s West was a bureaucratically managed space and that his depictions of western institutions reveal forms of political corruption that are not venal. Unlike the corruption that the Supreme Court has recently limited to quid pro quo exchanges of money for political favors by individuals, the corruption that Twain reveals through the lens of his western experiences is endemic to institutions and can often involve well-meaning individuals who are not acting in criminal ways.

You do not currently have access to this content.