Plunkitt of Tammany Hall
Plunkitt of Tammany Hall
Talking about politics, Plunkitt reveals the political ideology that ruled his actions as a senator and the infamous Tammany Hall. The primary idea that governed his career in politics is that he will benefit as politics comes to an end. In his famous statement, he said, I seen my opportunities and I took them (Olson & Riordon, 2006). His thinking as a politician was based on maximizing personal benefits from any available opportunity. This essay analyses the book Plunkitt of Tammy Hall to reveal certain facts if his political career.
Plunkitt views politicians as people who desire public offices for fame and glory. They are not driven by the need to offer leadership to a group of people but want to enjoy benefits attached to a public office. For instance, he says, There are thousands of young men in this city who will go to the polls for the first time next November. Among them will be many who have watched the careers of successful men in politics, and who are longing to make names and fortunes for themselves at the same game (Olson & Riordon, 2006). These groups of people are determined to get into political positions at all costs even employing Orthodox means rather than convincing voters about their policies (Burrows & Wallace, 1999). A good example of this account is his illustration of how he became a statesman. He formed and grew an association then received nominations from three different organizations. It implies that politicians have to demonstrate a high level of determination before they get into a political office.
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Odell is a central character in the book because of how he represented Tammany Hall politician. He did a great work in reducing the state tax to extremely low figures. In his political career, his actions pleased many voters but in reality, he just blindfolded them from learning the truth. He reduced the expenses incurred by the state government. He followed the steps of old Republicans in New York City (Burrows & Wallace, 1999). Unlike his predecessors, he almost dried the city by increasing liquor tax and rates for big companies, corporations, banks, and insurance companies. Thus, his experience exemplifies the political story of many politicians in New York.
The authors concept of honest graft entails using a political position for financial benefits without having to break any law. The author gave a number of examples to justify honest graft. He says, My party is in power in the city, and it's going to undertake a lot of public improvements. Well, I'm tipped off, say, that they're going to layout a new park at a certain place. I see my opportunity and I take it (Olson & Riordon, 2006). In such an instance, the graft is taking advantage of the position to benefit personal business because of the information received. This influenced Plunkett to amass more wealth in form of land as evidenced by ownership of many pieces of land. Instead of bringing change, he joined other politicians in devising ways of enrichment without breaching any law but always taking advantage of public ignorance.
Honest politicians in the book are the ones who kept their promises and never told lies. For instance, the author wrote, The politicians who make a lasting success in politics are the men who are always loyal to their friends, even up to the gate of State prison, if necessary; men who keep their promises and never lie (Olson & Riordon, 2006). Richard Croker lived up to these standards of honesty. He is depicted to have been truthful. It is for that reason that his leadership in Tammany Hall lasted long. He gained the trust of everyone in the organization; despite making mistakes that hurt his campaigns, he continued serving friends. Charles Murphy is also shown to have demonstrated admirable qualities. For example, he stuck to McClellan in 1903 even when all leaders in Brooklyn turned away from him even when it seemed like Tammany was going to fall (Finegold, 1995). On this honesty scale, the book mentions some dishonest leaders who never kept their word and used their positions for personal interests. Unlike Murphy and Croker, the author mentions men like McManus and Brutus whose political career cannot last long. Another dishonest figure mentioned is ex-governor Odell. The author notes, ex-Governor Odell comes down here to direct the Republican machine? Newburg aint big enough for him. He, like all the other upstate Republicans, wants to get hold of New York City. New York is their pie (Olson & Riordon, 2006). Therefore, honesty in the book determined the duration of political careers of different people and the things they are remembered to have done.
Plunkitt noted that alcohol is an obstacle to success in politics. For example, he says, No matter how well you learn to play the political game, you wont make a lasting success of it youre a drinking man. I never take a drop of any kind of intoxicating liquor (Olson & Riordon, 2006). He cites several successful politicians and noted that none of them was a drunkard. He illustrates that the strongest drink loved by Richard Croker was Vichy while Charlie Murphy only took a glass of wine at dinner sometimes. It is clear that the timeline of a drinking man in Tammany Hall is short, indeed approximately not exceeding two weeks. A leader must have a clear head to perform effectively in business.
In conclusion, this essay is a selective analysis of the book Plunkitt of Tammy Hall in relation to certain elements of Plunkitts political career such as becoming a politician, concept of honest graft, view on alcohol, and traits of various characters among others. The book reveals the nature of politics in the early 20th century. Events that transpired in Plunkitts political career are still relevant in todays politics.