Boss Rule in the Gilded Age: Matt Quay of Pennsylvania

By James A. Kehl | Go to book overview
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14
The Senator's Career Faces West 1902-1904

ASIDE from his attack on the Wilson-Gorman tariff and his explanation on sugar speculations, Quay had not taken the Senate podium to achieve his objectives. Committee rooms, private dinners, personal letters, and a group of able subordinates had served his purposes satisfactorily. But in the Roosevelt years he decided to use the Senate floor to assist the economic and political aspirations of his long-time lieutenant, William "Bull" Andrews, who had become interested in various enterprises in the New Mexico Territory. If statehood were extended to the territory, Andrews's business ventures would prosper more rapidly, and he himself could look forward to an appointment as U.S. senator, a distinction he coveted but could not attain in his native Pennsylvania as long as Quay and Penrose retained their seats.1

As a member of the Republican-dominated Senate Committee on Territories, Quay felt confident in advocating statehood for New Mexico, particularly since his request was coupled with bills to admit Arizona and Oklahoma at the same time. Both political parties had endorsed the principle of statehood for all three, and a bill providing for their immediate admission had already moved through the House of Representatives without a contest. Quay thus had no reason to expect a delay in the Senate, but Albert J. Beveridge of Indiana, the new committee chairman, knew well that scandals, injustice, and disappointment had marred the admission of other territories in the post-Civil War era. Determined that such practices would not be repeated under his aegis, the chairman opposed any perfunctory endorsement.2 A relative newcomer to the Senate, Beveridge was influenced by the reform spirit and possessed the fire and vigor of youth necessary to animate it. Quay,

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