Honest Graft : The World of George Washington Plunkitt
William L. Riordon's compiling and embroidering of Boss Plunkitt's boastful comments on machine politics constitutes a minor classic in American social history. in an introduction to this edition of the political boss's remarks, James S. Olson, chairman of the history department at Sam Houston State University, and James W. Mooney of American University engage in a provocative exchange over how the boss mentality as Plunkitt expressed it is to be judged. Thereby they complicate and enrich a reader's perception of the practical devices and ethical ambiguities of popular politics.
"Tammany Hall was far more than a disinterested detached city government for several million poor, working-class New Yorkers. It was also a successful city government delivering municipal services, a social welfare agency assisting the immigrant poor and their children in adjusting to the new country, a political interest group giving working-class people at least a modest voice in an economic world increasingly dominated by rich corporations."
--James S. Olson
"In essence: the machine politicos, for all their genuine resonance with their constituencies, saw the average voter as a creature of appetite; the scientific progressives, for all their hauteur, expected something better of the public and were prepared to work for it."
--James W. Mooney
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