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Bribery: Tammany Hall Essay

Political machines of fraud and bribery Introduction: Lincoln Steffens published the “shame of the cities” witch was a book based on the corruption in the 1900’s. By 1900, many cities in the south of America were controlled by political machines. These organizations consisted of full-time politicians whose main goal was to get and keep politicians power and money and also influence that went into it. In the 1900’s, machines were usually associated with a political party; party’s forced to join to limit competition. And although it provided aids it also stifled opportunities for many citizens.

Political bosses controlled access to city jobs for example police and fire departments or on contraction projects. To get a city work contract you had to donate to the machines reelection campaign. Many business paid politicians make government not to interfere with their activities. Such payoffs became part of the cost of doing business. Muckrakers called them BRIBERY National government also suffered from corruption. For example, the constitution gave state legislatures the power to choose senators, but corporations often bribed state legislators to elect their favored candidates to the senate.

The senates were really wealthy men with class ties to powerful industries. As cities and their problems grew rapidly the political environment changed. No longer did politicians run small manageable cities. These were big cities with big city problems and the government structures designed to cope with these problems grew. As the government grew it became the livelihood for many professional politicians. Some would argue that these politicians were corrupt, they would argue that they provided a needed service . he Society of St. Tammany, which was also called the Columbian Order, was founded in May 1789 (some sources say 1786).

The organization took its name from Tamamend, a legendary Indian chief in the American northeast who was said to have had friendly dealings with William Penn in the 1680s. The original purpose of the Tammany Society was for discussion of politics in the new nation. The club was organized with titles and rituals based, quite loosely, on Native American lore. For instance, the leader of Tammany was known as the Grand Sachem, and the club’s headquarters was known as the wigwam. Befor long the Society of St. Tammany turned into a distinct political organization affiliated with Aaron burr, a powerful force in New York politics at the time.


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