George Washington Plunkitt

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George Washington Plunkitt was a historically significant politician born in 1842 into a poor family. He initially worked as a butcher, but then followed his dream of entering into politics. He started at the New York state assembly and ultimately ended up as a New York state senator. He held the reins of the Tammany Hall political machine for over 40 years. Tammany Hall is one of the most controversial topics of political history and is the main discussion of the book Honest Graft: The World of George Washington Plunkitt by William L. Riordon. It is a collections of talks and writing of Plunkitt detailing about his life, politics, and general knowledge of the public. Many reformers saw the organization of Tammany Hall as a corrupt malignancy that plagued the American government. But Plunkitt argues that his work was always practical, legal and influential and helped shape the democratic system for the better. And as for his fortune, he simply states, “I seen my opportunities and I took em.” (Riordon) According to the book, becoming a politician is simpler than one would think. Plunkitt repeatedly mentions that one cannot become a successful politician from formal education. “Some young men think they can learn how to be successful in politics from…show more content…
It is apparent that he doesn’t notice the difference between honest and dishonest graft: he compares the Tammany Hall to the Philly Republic gang and puts them into the same category. This goes again with Plunkitt’s quote about the looters only going in for himself. Plunkitt describes the members of the Philadelphia Republican gang as these “looters” who have consequently ruined their political career. Plunkitt considers himself and members of Tammany Hall to be honest by his definition, although some see any form of graft as abuse of the political system, but this was not something Plunkitt thought of
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