English Lesson 75 Essay

George Washington Plunkitt complained that the Civil Service reform was damaging young individuals’ sense of duty to the country and patriotism. How serious was Plunkitt about patriotism’s connection to obtaining a job after Tammany hall won an election?

Plunkitt was saying that if the Civil Service Reform went into action, the entrance examinations and tenure would prevent Tammany Hall from handing out jobs to its voters if it was elected. This is essentially bribery. That is not the issue, however. To find out whether he was serious, we need to know a bit more about the book he said it in.

“The Autobiography of George Washington Plunkitt” was not actually written by him, but by William R. Riordan. And Riordan manipulated Plunkitt’s words a lot. He wrote the book mostly as a stereotypical example of Tammany’s executives. It is quite surpising that Plunkitt even authorized the book. So it is quite possible that Riordan could have taken Plunkitt’s words and exaggerated them to the phrases that they are.

One of the things that is consistent throughout, however, is that Plunkitt did not like the civil service. (Litote{sort of}) He came back to that again and again, and even declared that the top priority of the democratic party should be removing it, saying “I see the party standing over the Civil Service monster, and I see Thomas Jefferson looking down from a cloud saying ‘Give him another sockdollager!'” (Almost certainly Riordan’s words, but it proved a good point.) So he might have actually meant what he said.


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