Boss Platt and His New York Machine: A Study of the Political Leadership of Thomas C. Platt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Others

By Harold F. Gosnell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
PLATT'S "SUNDAY SCITOOL CLASS"

According to a very suggestive analysis of leadership made by a prominent sociologist, the "prime condition of ascendency is the presence of undirected energy in the person over whom it is to be exercised; it is not so much forced upon us from without as demanded from within."1 Following the witlidrawal of Conkling from politics and the Republican reverses of the eighties, there was present among the Republican party workers in the state, both small and great, a good deal of "undirected energy." There were bitter and prolonged 'factional quarrels in various parts of the state. While these quarrels consumed energy, they defeated the main purpose of all good Republican workers, namely, Republican victories at the polls. It is possible to describe only a few of the more important political managers who finally came to look. to Thomas C. Platt for guidance. Their gravitation to Platt has been described by one of them in the following words:

He came into leadership because, at a time when the party was weak, when its voters were both listless and broken into factions, when its organization was disrupted, and those who might have led had given over their opportunity and had withdrawn themselves into discouraged retirement, Mr. Platt had the motive, the interest, the ambition, and the personal force to draw to himself, first in plans to guide the leg

____________________
1
C. H. Cooley, Human Nature and the Social Order ( New York, 1902), p. 285.

-55-

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