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tv   Lectures in History Irish Catholics Tammany Hall  CSPAN  August 17, 2022 11:06am-12:21pm EDT

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catholics and 19th century new york city politics. >> well, good morning, everyone. today's lecture is called t good morning everyone. today's lecture we will be looking at catholics and politics. just to put this in the context of what we have been looking at the past couple of weeks, and what we have been looking at is this struggle for american catholics to find their place in american culture. despite persistent and clear
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expressions of loyalty and patriotism, and despite the real human sacrifice of life in the civil war, after the civil war catholics remained a people viewed by most americans with suspicion and fear. people to be feared. a variety of reasons for this, they were members of what was perceived as a foreign church based in rome. they were, as we have seen, participants in a school separate school system. and, even just by the virtue of their status as numbers of the working class at the time of the working classes are coming to be seen as a dangerous classes, catholics appeared to many non-catholic americans as a people apart, a people dangerously apart. catholic efforts to participate in mainstream american institutions only seemed to make things worse. this is, perhaps, most clear in the area that we will look at today, politics.
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from the founding, and even before the founding of the united states many protestant americans believe that the hierarchical authority structures of the catholic church instilled submission and serve olivia and catholics. we know from john adams on a futile law, where he described the catholic church as the root of all evil in history. certainly the root of all tyranny in human history, adams was not an outlier on this front, that was a common component of anglo american and political culture. it was this submission to authority that rendered catholics bad citizens in the republic. bad citizens, unfit to participate in american republican political institutions. much to the horror of native protestants, however, catholics, and especially the most hated catholics of all, irish
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catholics, turned out to be enthusiastic participants in the american political border. whatever the relationship to authority within the church, catholics embraced american political institutions and participation in those institutions. still, this did not prove that catholics will be good americans. if anything, protestants responded by arguing that this participation, itself, was undermining the american political system because catholics did not understand the true nature of politics. what is the true nature of politics? i think that is something we are still debating today. but, it is clear in the late 19th century, late 19th century america that protestants and catholics had different understandings of politics. these definite understandings our best understood not as different political theories, but, as different political cultures.
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the contrast between the two cultures, i think, was best expressed in the work of the mid 20th century american historian richer and pasta. outline, i have richard hostetter's pulitzer prize-winning book the age of reform bit written in 1955. it is about late 19th century into the early 20th century. hostetter introduces this period with this very illuminating contrast between two different political cultures. according to hostetter, one of those cultures is described as founded upon indigenous, that means anglo, middle class protestants yankee political traditions. this yankee protestant political tradition assumed, and demanded they constant disinterested activity of the
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citizen. disinterested is key, here. politics is not supposed to be about interest. it is disinterested. this tradition argued that political life ought to be full of general principles and abstract law. apart from personal needs, we do not get into politics for personal needs. in addition, this political culture carried with the assumption that government should be, in good part, an effort to moralize the lives of individuals, we have seen this already with the moral reform traditions that started in the 1830s, these are directly political and political parties, but, things like the temperance movement is probably the best example of that, they temperance applied to politics man that politics should be used to raise the moral level of the citizens. that is one political culture. according to pasta there was
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another political culture, founded upon the european backgrounds of immigrants,, native yankee protestant versus immigrants. these immigrant cultures were generally unfamiliar with independent political action, these people did not come from republicans, they were not voting citizens in any ways. most of these immigrants were, however, very familiar with hierarchy and authority. not just catholics, any immigrant coming from a traditional peasant culture, these cultures are structured by hierarchy and authority, the immigrants come to america, they are not in search of political theory, they are desperately in need of basic material sustenance. and they took for granted that political life would flow out of those needs. that politics was, very, much about interest and interest for them was largely the interest in survival. the basic survival. they understood politics not as
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disinterested, in personal activity, but politics mainly in term of personal obligations and strong personal loyalties, and, rather than allegiance to abstract laws or morals. this is personal politics in the 19th century way. personal connections, personal values. these two ideal types, if you will, of political cultures can be somewhat abstract, i will begin by giving you a very specific example of this contrast. a real life example, from history. this example comes from a book by historian jack bt, the book is called the rascal, king is a biography of james michael curly, an irish catholic boston politician who let's say is a representative of that second culture, this is what bt has to say, almost as if he were just directly following off stead.
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beaty writes, an archetypal boston story illustrates a resulting clash of political cultures. a beacon, hill lady, bacon hill was kind of an elite point in boston, think of that is standing for the first culture, yankee protestant culture. a bacon hill lady once went ringing doorbells an irish south boston on behalf of a high minded candidate for the school committee. at one house, an irish housewife listened politely to the ladies pitch for her candidate, and then ask, but doesn't he have a sister who works for schools, or something to do with the school system? the bacon holiday was shocked at what she chose to be the suggestion of patronage. i assure you, madam, he is not the kind of plan who would advance the interests of his sister, to which they self boston housewife or spawned, it will if he won't even help his own sister why would i vote for
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him? and so, that captures that contrast more than anything else, politics is about helping each other out in material ways, and from the south boston irish woman is not about making 1 million dollars, just getting job for a sister,, relative, something like that. economic interests, shore, material interests, sure. but very basic, at the level of survival, not enrichment. now, offset, or running in 1955, he described this contrast of anglo versus ethnic and native versus immigrant. that is certainly true but it is fairly broad. he is using those terms to include a wide variety of groups, certainly not all immigrants were catholics by any means, maybe jews, protestants, maybe some orthodox with the greeks, but, in terms of how this conflict
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played out in mainstream american culture, it was essentially a battle between protestants and catholics, certainly at the time it was understood in those terms. and, this religious development aspect of this conflict is most clear in that first political cartoon i sent you, they called it the tammany priest, a political cartoon by thomas nast, who was one of the very appropriately named thomas nast as some of his cartoons are very nasty, particularly for the catholics on the irish, but for this cartoon he again makes very clear they religious dimension of this conflict, you have, on the left hand of the cartoon,,, this ape like irish woman. that certainly covers the ethnic and class elements of this political divide. but, on the right, you have a braised.
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and in the middle you have a goose with a label on it, the democratic party. and the ape like irishman and the priest, who is also irish, are carving off the democratic party. carving up the spoils, if you will, of local politics. i do want to stress people like hostetter and even more recent historians tend to downplay the religious element of this. they stress class. i would stress that it is impossible to view these apart from religion. that the religious divide in america is as sharp or sharper than any kind of class, ethnic, or racial divide. so you have this image from thomas nast, who is generally speaking for the first culture. the yankee protestant culture. speaking of an unholy alliance in urban america.
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and on holy alliance between irish catholic immigrants and the irish catholic church. this unholy alliance generally associated with the urban democratic party, but went by the more specific name of tammany hall. that is the lecture title today of tammany catholic. it was not the democratic party itself, it was a political club within the democratic party. so, you think of college, maybe an essay seabrook group. the real power is in that group, they are the ones who control everything. and the so, that is how tammany hall function. and it does give some specificity to the northern democratic party. . the democratic party is the oldest party.
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extremely divided regionally. in the northern party, it is not slaveholding but it is still distinctly southern and distinct from the northern democratic party. the southern democratic party is very anglo, anglo, native, they can flip that to be true americans. but, the northern and urban democratic party is heavily liberal, it is referred to as the term tammany hall. a term within the democratic party. but, this political club in new york controlled new york city politics for much of the late 19th century. into about the middle of the 20th century. the image that you have here, which is very much an image of
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tammany hall, certainly suggest evil and corruption. from nast's perspective, from the perspective of that first political culture, that is what tammany is. political evil and corruption. the rating that you have for it today, however, of tammany hall gets a different, more positive view within the culture itself. so, first, we are going to. for the next part of the class we will go over some of the history, the most relevant history of tammany hall in the middle of the 20th century. and then, after that, we will look at some selections from tammany hall to give you what you can say is the response from within that second political culture. first political culture, like you have any outside this is all corruption. this is destroying american politics from within the culture you know. very muchit is not destroying n politics, it is just a different kind of virtue.
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a virtue very much rooted in communion. as we should see. nast, began, writing from that first political culture anti-catholic and anti irish. all of that being said, the charges of corruption, tammany is corrupt, these were not unfounded. and fact, thomas nast first made a national name for himself by covering the exposure of such corruption and tammany hall politics, through a scandal known as the tweet ring. your next image that i sent to you is this image of tweed. interesting, harper's weekly with this fat guy, that is william mott her tweed. a figure that is still, to this day, a symbol of corrupt urban
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politics. that william magear tweed was popularly known as boss twed because he was the boss of politics in new york. he was the one who call the shots due to his position in tammany hall. interestingly, here, even though some people might associate tweed with irish clothing. you may associate that with the irish. he was not irish, neither was he irish catholic. he was scotch presbyterian, think of this. i do not know how much irish history you all know. but, back in the old time in ireland there was no sharper conflict between irish catholics and scottish presbyterian's. they were sworn enemies in the old world and it is not like
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those old world battle and completely disappeared in the new world. about the time of the tweed scandal in 1871, there were actually riots in new york city called the orange riots. they were not about oranges, they were about orange man, or scotts and irish presbyterian's. who centuries earlier had supported william of orange in his fight against the catholic king, james the second. of course, you will remember this from your core questions. every year in july, orangemen back in ireland would have parades, they would march through catholic areas of northern ireland celebrating this victory of protestants over catholics. it is not just an old-world thing, it was carried over into the new world. and carried over violently in new york city, 1870 and 1871. the orange men would march
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through irish catholic sections of the city, and riot ensued. so, that is an example of how old world resentments carry over into new. but, tweed, i'm self is a possibility of the american life. he has at the same stop but most of his followers were in fact irish catholics. tweed did not carry those old resentments over. he realized that he was in a cosmopolitan city, many different ethnic groups, ethnic groups who could all vote. and you do not get votes by alienating people or dragging old baggage. so, though by native anglo perspective he was a little bit more american by version of being presbyterian and scottish. nonetheless, it opens up to the catholic community. especially the irish catholic community. and we see this in his inner circle.
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the so-called tweed ring that is associated with this corruption. the next image i have is sent out to you by the tweed ring. you see a ring of people all accusing the of people of corruption. there are four fingers that are highlighted in this image. you can say they carry over from the harper's cover with the fac eye on the left, that is tweed himself. but, when from the right, the do a b little guy there is hokie hall. they called him elegant hokie. he was the mayor of new york, but, the mayor who is hand picked by them. he was a native anglo stop. and, at this point it was important to have somebody like that out in front. even if they're only a figurehead it is helping to soften the blow of the
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immigrant power. kindto critics, the illusion, f you will, that angle americans were still in power. that public figure, that public face of the democratic party, at least at the level of mayor around the title of tweed was oakey hall. so, you have tweed, scottish presbyterian. you have oakey hall, and anglo american, but, the other two figures. the ones that are right in the center of this picture. they are irish catholics. richard connally. who served as controlling in the city government. and, peter sweeney, neither these positions just great political power. but not at this time. these more minor, unelected,
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bad positions like comptroller and commissioner parks. these were much more important because they were positions the dealt with finances and jobs. so, half of the key tweed ring is irish catholic. but, more importantly, tammany's rank and file is overwhelmingly irish catholic. and tweed was seen as a champion. not only by him but by the -- they did not say, oh, we are not going to support the scottish presbyterian. no, they supported him because he supported them. but there was, undoubtedly, and truly corruption. at least financial corruption at the heart of this relationship. in 1871 the new york times
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charged tweed with having looted the new york city treasury. to the tune of $45 million. now, that maybe trump change these days but at the time it amounted to a some greater than the entire annual u.s. federal budget before this. this is a lot of money, this is a lot of money. at the time of the indictment, he served as the cities commissioner of public works, again, seems like kind of a minor bureaucratic job position, nothing that we would see is carrying great power, but as i have said before, his true political power away in his position as head of tammany hall. as head of tammany hall he controlled the selection of candidates that the democratic
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party would support. he picked the candidates. and, he was in charge of making sure that those candidates -- yes? >> was he accused of stealing from the government? >> yes, yes, yes, yes, they ring is simply he was the focus of the accusation, because people like nast and the critics realized that he was the power behind the throne, if you are going to focus on somebody to indict, it was going to be tweed. and, again, as we say, the indictment was fair enough because he was behind all of this. but, aside from enriching himself his job as head of tammany hall is to pick the slate of candidates and make sure that they won by any means necessary. so including voter fraud,
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repeater,'s bullet box stuffing. and arithmetic in the counting. and this is something all through the late 19th century politics you can say. you go to the voting poll and there would be these monster guys with two by fours, or something. representing their candidate, this is before, necessarily, ballot. so, you would go in there and people can see how you are voting. americ and with more specific examples from chicago in the late 19th century. but you know election date in american century city in the mid-century was almost a riot day sometimes. if the election was particularly contested, and they were sharp divisions, you could have brawls at the voting booth. but think back earlier in the semester, even the trusty election in philadelphia there were these catholics voting on who is going to be trustees and a church and they turned to
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brawls. like the orange riots. 19th century city was a very violent city. the things that we have seen in recent years, this past year or so, are nothing compared to what was fairly regular occurrence in the 19th century and often associated with voting. so, these tactics as well as tammy's irish catholic constituency, racist suspicions about tweed long before the charges of draft and embezzlement were leveled in 1871. so, again, tweeds critics, critics of this urban political culture had their suspicions all along. suspicions rooted in the fact that this political culture was catholic and was irish and was immigrant. but, all that being set, those president prejudices that they brought to the case of tweeted,
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the charges in fact were true. tweed had spent several decades working his way up the tammany ladder. by the late 18 60s, he was able to engineer a restructuring of new york city politics that consolidated all of the real power in the hands of those were people that made up the tweet agreement. in people that were largely unelected. the mayor of course would be elected. how do they have all the power? without being elected? they have the power because they controlled the finances of the city. and for two straight years, 1870 to 1871, the city of new york at tweets direction borrowed money. borrowed money sometimes directly from banks, sometimes you bond creating bond programs. for people to buy bonds with
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the hope of as an investment. and even attracting foreign investors into new york city, so tweet was not too particular bout where the money came from. or how it arrived. he was just very interested in bringing money into the coffers of new york city. of course, he is not doing this publicly simply do enrich himself. why are people giving all this money to the treasury of new york city? to pay for building projects. this is a city that is growing, like every city in the 19th century. new york more than any other. so, the city is growing, it explodes, it needs buildings, and it's a lot of stuff. that is true. but how the stuff is bill it was how tweet and rich himself. so he is dealing with other people's money, borrowed funds. how did he make himself rich?
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does he simply should get in his pocket and kind of straight embezzlement? that would be a little too easy and a little too easy to be content. his typical method was simply too had building contracts. so, say a building you talk to the contractor and a building would cost maybe $10,000 in 18 $70 to build. so tweet says, okay, just give me a build for $20,000. and he will get your $10,000 which expects. and then me and my buddies will divide the other $10,000 among ourselves. with this arrangement he could pretty much divide the extra funds between the big four, and a couple of accountants. you have to keep track of this and you have to keep your accountants happy. however in this process there
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was at least one person that he did not keep happy just like in the molly maguire's moving there is an informant. within the democratic party itself someone eventually got a hold of the accounts and turned it over to the new york times. and so that is how the tweet ring was brought down. we saw tweets followers were shocked by the scale of the graft but not the nature of the graft. tweets supporters generally accepted some sort of graphs coming up the top, as the cost of doing business. why would they support such a corrupt politician, such a corrupt and moral political practice?
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because they knew that however much tweet may have enriched himself, he, to some degree share the wealth. sometimes directly through patronage that was getting a job in the city government itself, or even like giving a job to a cousin where a friend. you know someone who got a job from tweet, tweet is a good guy. maybe someday he can help me. so there was that kind of direct patronage. sometimes i was in direct financial benefit through say, a job on these building projects. that were funding by borrowing. so tweed is lining his pockets on these building projects, but a working class new yorker is maybe getting a job on one of these building projects. so for them, hey, it's a job. and one way or another i have to read to think for this. and so tweet is okay with me. i don't care if he is getting his millions, i'm getting something, i'm feeding my
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family. and this is survival. this is basic survival. you can think of it as a situation similar to what we saw in the mueller maguire's phone. he's in the city, it's not coal mines although if you've seen any pictures in new york city in the late 19th century, it is almost as healthy as a coal mine. and it is, the struggle for survival is very similar. and what are your options if you are in the working class at this time? it is, somebody like tweed, italy seems to carry in some way, or the people that we're operating coal mines in eastern pennsylvania who cared nothing about you at all and were willing to let you starve interest discard you. so those are your options. we do not live in an ideal world. between those options, people were happy to support somebody like tweet. perhaps most are dramatically in terms of tweets support for the working class of new york city, he earned the everlasting
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loyalty of many poor irish catholics during the civil war. and all of the controversy over the draft. we don't have too much time to go into the civil war in this class but, in 1863 that war was going badly and people in the north were no longer signing up, no longer enlisting, no longer volunteering. and so lincoln did would have never done before and he instituted a federal draft. that is, people had to serve in the army. you had to serve unless you could buy her way out. if you could pay for a substitute, then you didn't have to fight. now, in terms of people wanting to fight or not, there are a couple of considerations as we talked about before. irish catholics, very patriotic, but also democrats and suspicious of a war to end
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slavery. when the war was going badly, some of that enthusiasm for the war win, and they had to choose between patriotism for their country and just simply staying at home and supporting their families. and many of them wanted to stay at home and support their families and didn't want to risk going off to war, dying, and leaving their family substitute. well, you could buy your way out if you got a substitute to fight for you. except, the cost of a substitute was $300. this is well beyond the means of any working class new yorker. and so, in response to the draft, there were day i say it again, riots. tremendous riots. the worst riots in american history. it's interesting, go to the 1860s, and the 1960s, and both there were protests against the draft and for varied reasons are very different people. but as tumultuous as the 1960s seem, the 18 60s were far more violent in terms of the draft riots in new york city.
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draft riots in which irish catholics played a prominent role. tweet comes to the rescue. he pays the bounty for many of these irish catholics. $300. so this isn't just tweeted lining his pockets, he is certainly using city funds, but he says okay you don't want to go to fight for war because you've got a family to support, i will pay your bounty. and they're like thank you boss tweed, thank you boss to eat. for those who did still want to go to war, and especially if you are a single guy, you don't have a family to support, war may be a best option. because there was a 300 dollar signing bonus if you listed. to keep lincoln happy, because again lincoln instituted the draft because he needed bodies. to keep lincoln had, he tweeted agreed to pay the signing bonus for workers who were willing to go to war but where, especially
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if they were married men but were concerned with their families. so again, he pays the bounty for some workers, and he pays the signing notice for other workers who are willing to go to the war. either way, he is sharing the wealth, shall we say. and again, he becomes a hero for irish catholics. because it. this this bond of loyalty forged most dramatically during the civil war between tweed and irish catholics in new york, only deepened through the 18 60s. just to give you another example. while serving in the state assembly, and tweets political positions, he jumped around all the time. it is not like today where people work their way up. congressman, senator, president, things like that. the political position that he had it any one time was not as important as his position at head of tammany. but for a time in the 1860s he
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served in the state assembly. the so the new york state assembly. and he arranged for state funds to be used to support catholic charities and catholic schools. now, again think back to the school controversy that we looked at earlier. protestants, of course objected to this. they didn't like state funds going to catholic charities, but that they were willing to accept because catholic charities were sometimes the only charities around. especially, the women religious, the nuns. they worked in orphanages, like we've seen before, worked in hospitals, they were the ones caring for the poor when no one else would do it. and even the protestants were always suspicious of the poor, realized that this work had to be done if only to kind of maintain some semblance of social order. and so they kind of hold their noses and were willing to allow state funds to be used to fund catholic charities that no one
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could argue served the common good. charity such as orphanages and hospitals. schools were different. and as we've seen, schools were the real hot button issue and the laws were such that it was illegal to have any money go to catholic schools. so, but what's the law between friends, as tweet might say. he had to be a little sneaky about this, but he still managed to channel some funds to catholic schools. but it was mainly by catholic charities that he supported with state money. now, when tweet was confronted with this and accused of being a of favoring catholics, he would say well look i send money deposit charities as well. if catholic charities receive more, it is because they support me more. it is as basic as that. you get what you paid for. i will take protestant votes, i don't mind. and if i get protestant votes, i will return the favor by
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channeling some charity funds into protestant organizations. but again, catholic charities, particularly those run by religious sisters, nuns, were the most important private charities in new york in the 19th century. they got money from tweed to. so again, even if you are not directly using an orphanage, tweed, a scottish presbyterian, says it seems like a friend of irish catholics, he's a friend of the church, he's a friend of the good sisters who are running the orphanages and the hospitals. so this is all great for tweed. he is enriching himself, but he is spreading it around, and through that he is earning loyalty. and this isn't just like money, this isn't just like bribing somebody to vote for you. he is building up a real personal connection to vouchers. and ultimately system is doing that. so it is not just about money, it is about personal
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connection. however, it was also about money and a lot of it. and tweed, we could say, over reach in his graft again to the tune of $45 million or so. so, tweet was indicted. he kind of spent most of the rest of the 18 70s and inactive jail. he's convicted of something, and then he gets freed, one thing i think he tried to escape to spain or something like that. but he was caught and brought back. he died in april of 1870 he died very much kind of a broken man. again, i've said irish catholics had you could say a high tolerance for graft. but this just seemed to be going too far. again, it is not that he didn't spread the wealth around, but he kept a disproportionate amount for himself.
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still, irish catholics were it disappointed and kind of embarrassed by tweed because it seemed to confirm all of the worst criticisms and accusations made by protestants. still, they remained loyal to tammany hall and the democratic party. and just to give you an example of their thinking, and this is on revenue meryl three letter c, a writer for the catholic newspaper, the irish american stated soon after the fall of tweed, when omar goes outside the party to purify it and then one goes outside the church. and to give you a sense of that connection. this wasn't just a political party in this situation was not just a political party. it was, for them, almost as sacred as the church because it was just as central to their
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survival. and again, loyalty is everything. and so they could not turn their backs on tammany and the democratic party simply because of corruption. a corruption that went too far. they wanted to reform it from within. and that they would do, to some degree. reform any kind of tammany sense. certainly scaling back the extremes of a tweed. being a little bit more moderate. yes? >> so, to this corruption scandal have a broader impacts on like the national democratic party, or was it mostly-limited to new york city? >> good question. it certainly had a national implications. harper's weekly with a national magazine, and nascar teams are spread across the country. and they had a tremendous effect in terms of linking
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political corruption with urban politics. but at the same time there is political corruption across the board. in the 1860s rhetoric is one of kind of oral moral uprightness. and you remember earlier grants attack on catholic schools in the name of republican political principles. still, grants administration was one of the most corrupt ever. it was corrupt up to that point. so there is a lot of graft at the national level. it is interesting though that despite the graft in the granite ministration, the republican party still emerged as a party of good government because they spoke that reverent. whatever graph is going on, is about the language of good government impurity. where the contaminant people in the democrats never spoke that way. even the southern democrats
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were not quite so righteous, if you will, as the northern republicans. and there is, and coming out of both the corruption and the grant ministration, and other scandals. there is a movement at the national level for what they call civil service reform. and this is the idea, i don't get too much into it here, but it is a good question that you ask. so to clarify, at the national level this is playing out at the national level as well. let me see, excuse me here. i need a reliable marker. civil service reform. pendleton act. it was around, it's in the early 18 80s. i don't know the exact date in
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my mind. but here is the situation. to cut down on graft, unlike just giving jobs to your friends, the idea was well we don't need cronies and governments, we need people that can actually do the job. and so, we need a civil service that is, you are going to get a job a government not because you know somebody, but because you are qualified. so there will be a civil service test you will take. so this is something that will be played at the national level. there's a penalty and acts. there is a civil service reform act that mandated that a greater percentage of federal government jobs would be acquired only through passing a civil service exam. this is, in terms of the blanket readings this is something that i saw was a big issue pluck it as well. i chose not to focus on it for reasons that we will see here. but this is also being played out at the local level.
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so civil service form is something that connects national policy. the whole tweed scandal, just the operation of local politics convinced many reformers, in largely protestant reformers, people for that first political college culture, that the way to get the government was to have civil service reform. do you have, ideally, every position and government being staffed by somebody who is qualified. how do we know that they are qualified? well, they have passed a civil service. now, i will digress a bit here. because this actually goes back to one of those earlier figures i looked at. james michael curly, the oftentimes mayor and one time governor in boston and massachusetts, he won his first elected position he earned when he was in jail.
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he was in jail because he took, he and another front of his took serve civil service exams for a poor irish catholic who needed a safe city job credit passable service exam. and think of the civil service exam as like anesthetist. it is really like, whatever skills it might assessor judge, it is primarily a way of weeding people out. or even dare i say, the college degree. you apply for, job you must have a four year degree. really, to do this job, do i need a four-year degree? >> yes, you do. >> you probably don't need a four-year degree to do many jobs, but it is required. it is a way of weeding people out. and that certainly was the purpose of these civil service exams at the local level. and so, curly is response, he was breaking the law. he was taking a test for somebody else, misrepresenting himself. but he turned that to his advantage is in his campaign.
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his campaign slogan was, he did it for a friend. and he got elected. >> can you do it for a friend, okay that's the kind of guy. i want to find like that. somebody who can help me out. so, again, this does the local the national political conversation, if you will do link up on civil service. but it is interesting how, even to this day when we talk about corruption, it is always localized. it is always the local politicians particularly ethnic politicians. that is the corrupt one. even, if you think about contemporary politics. if governments at the federal level is attacked, it is not so much for corruption but for like big government, big spending too much. it is not the bureaucrats who are corrupt, it is that they are bureaucrats. but corruption continues to be a linked to local politics. the smoke filled room, if you will. and even often again so with irish catholics. even though, again, the irish
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catholic dominance at the city 's long past. but it is that image that endures of a tammany style politician. the term tammany, long after the demise of tammany hall, is still a part of our political vocabulary and has a similar kind of corruption. tammy knew this. and they knew they could not simply go on conducting business as usual. and so, they began to kind of reform effort of their own. the fall of boss tweed, was actually a key transition point not just in time and trying to spruce up its image of it to be more respectable, but in the shift from a non-either-ish catholic leadership to irish catholic leadership. a key figure here, on the outline here, is honest john kelly. who rose to power as the first irish catholic boss in new york in the 1870s. kelly was a longtime tammany
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operative. he knew how time many worked, but he had been ill and out of the country during the worst of the tweaks scandals. and so, he had a relatively clean record. now, again, most reformers weren't on necessarily buying the honest john label. but the emergence of this irish catholic leader only heighten the kind of ethnic tensions. so it is bad enough when scottish pressure therrien lake tweet was leading this irish crawl catholic rabble. now the irish catholics are in the leadership position themselves. and again, there is some truth even to that nasty political cartoon that we began with up this link between irish catholics and local politics. it is true. it is true, and best expects by an antidote often linked to old honest john kelly. apparently, in 1879, with the dedication of st. patrick's cathedral new york, kelly rose up to speak.
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that kelly, just so you know, he was actually married to the niece of new york's cardinal archbishop john mccloskey. so, okay there's a connection. there it is a family connection. so reformers might worry about the church and local politics, there's definitely a connection there. but kelly, according to the story, it raised his glass at the dinner in triumph and side god bless the two greatest organizations in the world, the catholic church, and tammany hall. there was a brief pause. the person exum says, what is the second one? it's like, they are one. and again, most people denied. certainly most irish catholics at the time would have no problem with that. again, irish supported tammany because tammany supported them. in any number of ways. tammy was often the difference between life and death for the
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poor of new york. and again, what are your options? when you look at power, who do you turn to for help? do you turn to tammany hall, that however much these people might enrich themselves, do you does seem to care about you, brings you cohen winter when you have no heat? brings you a turkey at thanksgiving? when you have no food? or, the respectable mine owners in eastern pennsylvania who were all above board did everything of course according to the law. as we, see not everything according to law, but presented themselves as being respectable, law-abiding. even if they didn't care about their workers. there's no choice here for the poor in new york at the time. and again, tammy had that. irish catholics in new york had that personal connection, certainly connection to the church, connection to neighborhood, ultimately connection to community.
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and so i want to stress here that although they are certainly dispersing material benefits, this isn't simply about material benefits. it is not just like, here's a check, go by something for yourself. it sub out community. and i think even though the reading that we had for today, the experts from plunk it, this text. this is the book that this comes from. most historians who deal with this will often focus on -- the civil service issue, because plunk it to says all of these things to say about civil service and how it's running politics and destroying politics. because it was certainly undermining tammany style politics. but i want to focus on another aspect of the book. the ways in which plunk it presents tammany in the context of community. again, it is not simply distributing material benefits. going down to tammany, pick up a check, and go home.
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it is about community and building relationships. but building relationships, certainly through providing material needs. plunk in, george washington pointed, is your last image for today. the photograph, this is a blanket at the new york county courthouse boo black stand. which is his people thrown, if you will, where he speaks on sharing the political wisdom to new york. this is the kind of place that a tammany politician would be kind of right in the heart of things. plunk it, like tweed, held a variety of positions anything from local all or do men, and city councilman, to new york state assembly and senator. that, again, the particular position did matter so much of his access to patronage jobs. this is how people loyalty for voters. and this is also how he
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enriched him self. and, again, think of the tweed scandal and the problem of kind of excessive enrichment. the plucking family was written almost 30 years or so after. things have changed somewhat. some distinctions have been introduced, but there is no pretense here. there is no like, oh we are honest politicians and above board, we would never do that. no, he is very upfront. four chapters very upfront about about the fact that he doesn't reach himself to politics. but he makes a key, i don't know if i would say a risk detail in, but a key moral distinction here. perhaps one that you haven't encountered in your philosophy classes. the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft. and just to read you this passage here. everybody is talking today about tammany men growing rift of rich on graft.
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but nobody thinks about drawing the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft. there is all the difference in the world between the two. yes, many very many grown rich in politics, i have myself. i made a big fortune out of the game and i'm getting richer every day. but i am not going in for dishonest draft, blackmailing gamblers, saloon keepers, disorderly people. and either any of the man who made big fortunes in politics. there is an honest graft, and i am an example of how it works. i might sum up the whole thing by saying, i see my opportunities and they took him. let me explain by examples. my parties in power in the city, and it is undergoing to take make public improvements. i've tipped off that they're gonna lay out another apartment place. i see my opportunity and i take it. i go to that place, and i buy plant again in the neighborhood. on the board of this or that makes its planned public, and there's a rush to get my land which nobody cared particularly for before. being perfectly honest, i charge a good price and make a
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profit on my investment in foresight. that is an honest graft. so that is it unique in particular kind of moral distinction, but when they're nonetheless. again, this didn't assure reformers that everything was above board. it certainly seems like, and was, kind of justification for when he was doing. but he goes on to make it more important distinction. it is certainly the honest, dishonest draft is intended to be comical. all of these reflections are done in the kind of light way. this is not a work of political theory. though, we will see that he takes on political theory a little later. but he goes on to make a distinction that is, for all of the like this and tone of this, that is very important. and he does it's in a chapter where he is responding to one of these exposés that was written at the time. a book, the shame of the cities. and it is exposing all this corruption. it is exposing the graph that he is, in some ways kind of
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really admitting. to this shame of the city is written by lincoln stevens. i will just go to the passenger. seventh means we'll, but like all reformers, he doesn't know how to make distinctions. he can't see a difference between honest graft and dishonest draft. and consequence, he gets things all mixed up there is the biggest kind of difference between political looters and politicians who make a fortune out of politics by keeping their eyes wide open. the looter goes in for stuff on his own without it considers organization or his city. the politician looks after his interest, is organizations interest, and the cities interests all the same time. see the distinction? four engines, i end allude. are the litter hogs, i never hawk. i made my pile in politics, but at the same time, i serve the organization got more bigger improvements than any living man. and i never monkey with the penal.
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code >> so, it's like rationalization. sure but again for his constituents, if they are getting jobs on these improvements, these building projects, that is fine. it doesn't have to be cool. if anything, the kind of fancy clothes that he might where would be something to aspire to for some of them. but the big key is, this distinction between a politician and a loser. a loser keeps it all for themselves. and you could say looking back, tweet, given the enormous disparity between what do you check in and what's he distributed, tweet would be judged a loser. keeping too much for himself. and that is the same. that is the immorality, when you keep too much for yourself. but, if you spread it around, you take a little bit more for yourself. okay, you are the loser, you deserve to get a little more. but as long as you are spreading it around let's say, barely if not exactly equally, then you are fine. again, think about the alternatives are. the cool owners in eastern
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pennsylvania, the slaughterhouse owners that will be looking at later in the semester after break. and slaughterhouse owners on the back of the yards neighborhood in chicago. so, it is not the time and he has no moral code, they just happen to have a different one. and the defense machine right and wrong here is primarily how you treat others. it is not strict enough here adherence to the rules. because for tammany people, politics is not about rules. it is not a bad idea. it is about people. this kind of image, i see most of the people this got our history majors. you were never led astray by say political science, ha. political science. well, don't get itself as a few things to say about political science and book learning and all that. now that is not to say that blanket does not have his political theory. like air stall in the ancient
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world, and the founding fathers, plank it believes that politics is repeated in human nature. politics is a reflection of human nature. punk it just happens to have a overconsumption of human nature than maybe aristotle or the founding fathers. and this is in chapter six. to hold your district, to get reelected. to hold your district, study human intern act according. there is only one way to hold a district. you must study human nature and act according. you can't study human nature books, sorry people. brooks is a hindrance more than anything else. if you have been to college, so much the worse for you. you have to unlearn all you've learned before you can get right down to human nature, and unlearning takes a lot of time. some men can never forget what they learned a college. such men may get to be district leaders by a fluke, but they never last. to learn real human nature, you have to go out among people. see them, and be seen. i know every man woman and
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child in the 15th district, except then that have been the born this summer. i know some of them too. i know they like, but they don't, like they're strong at, with their weekend, and i reach them by approaching at the right side. for instance, here is how i gather in the young man. i hear every young fellow who is proud of his voice, thinks he can sing fine. i ask him to come around to washington hollander an ugly club. he comes and things, and he is a follow-up will give her life. another young fellow, gain the reputation as a baseball player in a vacant lot. i bring him into our baseball club. that fixes him. you will find him working for my ticket at the polls every, next election day. and then there is the fellow who likes rowing on the river. the young fellow who likes makes the name of the walter, the young fellow who is handy with this jukes. i wrote them in, all in by giving them opportunities to show themselves off. i don't troubling with political arguments, i just studied human nature and act
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accordingly. so, again, he is building up loyalty not simply through politics directly or, discussing the great political theories or ideas or when needs to be done to improve the city or anything like that. but by giving people something to do. by giving them a social life. encouraging the things that they like to do, that they then can to associate with their political party. and a lot of, it is interesting just as a quick aside here, a lot of these activities that were done through political parties or through a fraternal organization, often ethnic fraternal organizations, gradually get absorbed by the schools. the school becomes everything. in the spirit of the civil service, we have to get people. you know, playing baseball for tammany hall. no no, no for the high. school don't sacred him any, hall senior high school. these activities, sports, music,
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the arts, entertainment if you will. the people developed in this political context, in the context of these political clubs. gradually the school dorms everything. one could see that happen, does this bias against schools and book learning. so, again he sees human nature next recording. he gets people something to do. he builds up kind of a community life through things that are not directly related to politics. singing, playing sports. but that have political benefits for him. he gives them something to do, encourages activities, they made him back by voting for him. and, again, this is kind of a multiplier effect. it just takes doing this for a few people and then people that may not directly benefit say, well who should i vote for this november? and then, tammany is great. they help me saying, that we play baseball.
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in terms of human nature, and aside from singing and playing sports, tammany also recognizes more basic aspects of human nature than the need for food clothing and shelter. and this is, continued at a later section in chapter six, how to hold your district, study human nature and act accordingly. later he writes in terms of his direct aid. providing the material needs of people. blanket rights, what tales and holding your grip on your district, as you can write down among the poor families and all them in different ways. they need help. i got a regular system for this. if there's a fire, in ninth tenth or 11th avenue, for example. any hour of the day or night, i'm usually there with my election district captains as soon as the fire engines. the family is burned out, i don't ask whether they are republicans or democrats, and i don't refer them to the charity organization which would investigate their case in a month or two or an and decide that they were worthy of help about the time they are dead from starvation.
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i just get quarters for them, buy clothes for them if they're closer burned up, and picks them up until they get things running again. it is philanthropy, but it is politics too. my two good politics. who can tell how many votes one of these fires bring me. because it's like he is setting the fires himself. the most grateful people the poor are the most grateful people in the world and let me tell, you they have more friends in their neighbors in the rich. have if there is a friend, want me my man of the first on the ground. i have a special court to look at such cases. the consequence is that the poor look up to george w. plenkovic as a father, come to him in time trouble. i'm gonna make a lasting. the consequence is that the poor look up to george w. blanket as a father, come to him in trouble, and don't forget him on election day. so, again, these are kind of there is an exchange here. you need something, i need. something i just want to
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comment on one part of this pattern where talks with a charity organization society. again, this is a big distinction, at least at the time between generally like the products and charity organizations which is referring to, and the catholic ones. that among the protestant, there is much more the sense of a suspicion of the poor. , if you are poor, why are you? pour why do you need food? haven't you've been saving your money? have you been irresponsible? are you a drunk? the sense of, we need to determine if you are truly needy or just a lazy good for nothing. this attitude was creeping into some catholic charity as well, but in general, the catholic notion from the bible that the poor always have -- . well it is not your fault, look at the city. the city is full of more people. you are going to say like it's your fault because your poor. so with the catholic organizations, charity organizations, they were generally far fewer questions asked. but the protestant ones were notorious again for undergoing this kind of moral scrutiny of
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the poor to make sure that they weren't lazy good for nothing's. looking for a hand out. and these attitudes of course are still with us today. i have spoken about tammany more mostly in terms of irish catholics, and i think in the public profile and the leadership to at this time they were at the dominant group. but, new york was changing. certainly by the late 19th century, there's a new wave of immigrants. you know early in the semester we look at the germans in the irish coming in the middle of the 20th century. but late 20th century, a new wave of immigrants, largely from southern and eastern europe. so a lot of italians from new york city, it is largely kind of italians in jews. you might think, oh italians there is going to be a natural religious connection between the irish with the irish, but that really didn't play out in some ways in terms of tammany politics. the alliance was much more with choose than with italians. as we've seen earlier in the semester, it is not like a
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common faith was able to overcome ethnic divisions within the church. in some ways that almost kind of increased the rivalry to some degree. but, the demographics of new york are changing. new immigrants were coming in. what is tampa need to do with them? historians have often made a contrast between east coast urban politics in the midwest saying that the irish on the east coast where a bit more tribal, like less willing to bring in other ethnic groups. where in the midwest, like chicago being kind of the best example, they're much more kind of big ten terms about the groups. but implicates an account, plan could seize the jewish immigrants and it is not a divider for them. every person represents a vote and he says, i don't care you are a republican or democrat he
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says, i don't know what you're at thinker, bespoke when new york city is a potential voter and i am going to do everything i can i can to get your vote. and this is the last selection johnny horn. the guys are out on the streets making contact with the people in determining what they need and providing them with what they need. and so he writes about this. johnny hern of the third and fourth district, are just the men for such places. so he's talking about the different ethnic groups. he is perfect for this district. it's consistent with half irishman and half jews. popular as with one as with the other. he eats corn beef and kosher beef with
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equal nonchalance and it's all the same whether he takes his hat off in church or put down over his ears in a synagogue. when in rome, do is the romans do. it's an example here of an irish name, johnny hearn, but he is freely among irish catholics and among jewish immigrants. it's this irish jewish alliance, if you will, that was very important in new york. certainly in the entertainment world. broadway dominated by the irish, over to jews, something we will look at, and tammany produces the first presidential candidate, smith. and the election team is largely jewish in competition. the irish lines that goes to the first attempt for tammany in winning the national
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election. any questions? okay, just to finish up here then, especially in that last passage i read to you, by plunkitt's account, politics seems capable of uniting people across ethnicity and religion. but of course, the reality is more complicated. we have already seen how even in the catholic church, ethnic divisions undermine unity. and i do share a common thread, deeply shared by ethnicity. and in all cases there are certainly a different culture. and that culture is not enough to unite people across different cultures. in the beginning of the next class and for the next couple of
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weeks, we are going to keep our attention on the city but turned to a different city. the other great city of industrial era, chicago. particular neighborhood within the city as well, the back of the yards, the slaughterhouse section of chicago. and we are going to look at the ways in which this largely catholic neighborhood nonetheless was home to ethnic divisions that remain strong well into the 1930s. we saw already how certain church leaders tried to overcome these divisions by making everybody the same, by getting rid of ethnicity and by participating in the public school system. that wasn't going to work. chicago's ethnic ties were very, very strong. but what we will see, coming out of the slaughterhouse neighborhood in the 1930s from the 19th century, a new kind of politics was rooted in the new practical
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concerns of tammany. and was able to move beyond them and form something like a principled language of justice. never going into the moral-ism of the protestant reformers, but a broader language of justice and a principled language of justice that was needed in response to the greatest economic challenge facing the city, of the -- the great depression. the great depression that didn't follow the cycle of previous ones. and called for something more than a type of direct material aid that tammany was able to provide before the depression. i will see well on thursday.
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