For centuries, most people saw wine as a way to enjoy a good meal or relax. Sam Ward saw it as a way to influence government. He arrived in Washington D.C. in 1859, with several cases of fine wine, and managed to secretly draw salaries simultaneously from the U.S. State Department and the country of Paraguay to resolve issues between them. He quickly saw the potential of delicious foods, dinner parties, and the information gathered from them, as a way to wield power. By 1875 the press was referring to him as “King of the Lobby.”
Sam Ward came from a distinguished New York family, was the brother of Julia Ward Howe (author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) and was the best friend with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Author Kathryn Allamong Jacob traces his rise to becoming the “most influential lobbyist of the Gilded Age.”
King of the Lobby: The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man-About-Washington in the Gilded Ageis available online at Amazon.com.