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Plunkitt of Tammany Hall

George Washington Plunkitt

Book Overview: 

“I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.”, George Washington Plunkitt of Tamminy Hall. There’s honest graft and dishonest graft according to Plunkitt. Listen to this candid discourse from a 19th century politician, and decide for yourself if things have changed.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ation, but had been allowed to serve his country as he wished, he would be in a good office today, drawin' a good salary. Ah, how many young men have had their patriotism blasted in the same way!

Now, what is goin' to happen when civil service crushes out patriotism? Only one thing can happen: the republic will go to pieces. Then a czar or a sultan will turn up, which brings me to the fourthly of my argument—that is, there will be h—— to pay. And that ain't no lie.





Chapter 4. Reformers Only Mornin' Glories

COLLEGE professors and philosophers who go up in a balloon to think are always discussin' the question: "Why Reform Administrations Never Succeed Themselves!" The reason is plain to anybody who has learned the a, b, c of politics.

I can't tell just how many of these movements I've seen started in New York during my forty years in politics, but I can tell you how many have lasted more tha. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A fantastic introduction by Terrence MacDonald puts Plunkitt in his place. This most infamous of early 20th century "ward bosses" consciously created his image as an anti-reform picaresque machine politician because he knew it would get him copy, and Evening Post reporter William Riordon was only to

I first read this book in 1975 as a freshman in college while taking a class on the history of political parties. It is not only a great history of urban political machines in general and New York’s Tammany Hall in particular, it is also an honest depiction of politics everywhere. There is so much i

2021-03-19 This was one of the books assigned by the "New Left" professor I had for Into to Government class in college (~1974-5). It was a very candid account of the head of the Tammany Hall "machine" in NY City in the late 1800s, George Washington Plunkitt, who explained the different between "Hon

This book gives an enthralling account of the New York City Democratic Party machine around the time of the turn of the century. Plunkitt seems to be the most personable man ever, and understands everything around him very well. He is incredibly honest about how he wins elections, and his not always

This guy really hates civil service reform.

Plunkitt was saying out-loud, in public, from his permanent “office hours” spot at the boot black stand in the County Courthouse, what most politicians were doing in secret (and still do).

Excellent pick for any political, Union, or activist reading group.

Interesting compilation of political speeches made from a time when politics - especially dirty party politics- was much more in the open. His insights into how graft works and how to coalesce a political machine around goals are pretty timeless. It’s racist, sexist, anti-government, corrupt, and re

A series of quick, snappy speeches by a political leader of Tammany Hall. An inside look at machine politics, a completely different beast from conventional campaigns. Some of it definitely seems absurd today. His acceptance of "honest graft" left me aghast, but that could also be my naivety!

"Live

The reporter William L. Riordan's recording of informal talks given by George Washington Plunkitt, one of the leading Tammany Hall politicians in late 19th century New York City. Famous for his phrase "honest graft", you get a glimpse for the feel of the machine politics going on at the time. A uniq

George Washington Plunkitt was a solid foot soldier in the Tammany Hall machine at its peak, in the latter 1800s etc. This book is laced with his observations: "I seen my opportunities and I took them." Or his analysis of the distinction between honest and dishonest graft. Down to earth, amusing, an

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