The Santa Fe Ring: Gilded Age Politics in Old New Mexico

David L. Caffey

Sparks, SAR Boardroom

Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 3:00–4:00 pm

Thomas B. Catron, Circa. 1917Thomas B. Catron, Circa. 1917Photograph by Wesley Bradfield. Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), Negative #013309.

If you think New Mexico politics is rough-and-tumble today, consider the latter half of the 19th century when the “Santa Fe Ring” held sway. Consisting of attorneys, territorial officials, and others seeking power and wealth, the Ring allegedly used official power to line the pockets of its members. They pursued acquisition of Spanish and Mexican Land Grants, interests in livestock and mining, and contracts to supply military forts and Indian reservations. The Ring was often accused of corrupt and dastardly actions, but few charges were ever proven. Historian David Caffey is Vice President at Clovis Community College and Vice President of the Historical Society of New Mexico.

Cost: Free

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