Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 238
Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 238
politicians of unsavory character. The judiciary was made elective in 1846; and most local officers were thenceforth chosen in this manner. The mass of poor and ignorant voters, mainly foreign born, but drilled and led by unscrupulous Americans, held the command, and contemptuously disregarded their former leaders. Business men shrank from going into politics. There was not much buying of voters, but election frauds, and acts of brutal intimidation and violence at the polls, became more and more common. The Federal, State, and local offices were used with absolute shamelessness to reward active political work. By the fifties, politics had sunk as low as they well could sink. Fernando Wood, an unscrupulous and cunning demagogue, whose financial honesty was more than doubtful, skilled in manipulating the baser sort of ward politicians, became the “boss” of the city, and was finally elected mayor. His lieutenants were brutal rowdies of the type of Isaiah Rynders, his right hand man; they ruled by force and fraud, and were hand in glove with the disorderly and semi-criminal classes. Both Wood and Rynders were native Americans, the former of English, the latter of Dutch ancestry. It would be difficult to pick out any two foreignborn men of similar stamp who were as mischievous. In 1850 street railways were started, and the franchises for them were in many cases procured



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