Gangs of New York History vs. Hollywood

1164 Words5 Pages
The movie begins in New York, in 1843, with a gang fight. Bill "the butcher" Cutting's gang of "nativists" have challenged the "dead rabbits" (a gang of mostly Irish immigrants) to a fight to settle once and for all who is the most powerful gang in the area. After an intense battle the "nativists" win by killing the leader of the "dead rabbits", also Amsterdam's (the main character's) father. Amsterdam is then led into an orphanage where he grows to be a man, all while Bill Cutting runs the Five Points, and most of New York. The Five Points is a district of New York City and obviously the most corrupt. Crime is all to common, and sickness runs rampant in the area. Although very underdeveloped, Amsterdam has sworn to revenge his…show more content…
In 1802, the city organized the adjacent Bunker Hill, to be leveled into Collect Pond. The job was finished in 1813. The houses were built cheaply while the land remained marshy ,and dense with mosquitos. When the Irish began flocking to New York during their potato famine they needed cheap shelters and the Five Points was just the place. Also, the corrupt politicians in New York was a reality. Boss Tweed was running a political machine, and the public were the ones getting the raw deal. In a famous series of newspaper interviews George Plunkett explains the difference between "honest graft" and "dishonest graft." "Everybody is talking' these days about Tammany men growin' richer on graft, but nobody thinks of drawing' the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft. There's all the difference in the world between the two. Yes, many of our men have grown rich in politics. I have myself. I've made a big fortune out fo the game, and I'm gettin' richer every day, but I've not gone in for dishonest graft--blackmailin' gamblers, saloonkeepers, disorderly people, etc.--and neither has any of the men who have made big fortunes in politics." (taken from the American Pageant) Second, the inaccuracies. Bill the Butcher a "die hard" nativist, has his headquarters in the Five Points. This is ridiculous. By the 1860's the Five Points were constructed as a fortress to ward off the nativists. Any Know Nothing who would try to live in the Five
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