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 VII
CONTROL OVER LAW MAKING

The control that Thomas C. Platt and his field marshals exercised over the law-making machinery of the state was closely articulated with the control that they exercised over the party nominating and election machinery. No one realized better than Platt how to thwart the plans of a reform governor by means of a "machine" controlled legislature. In his memoirs, Platt said: "I also was influential in securing to the people Republican legislatures continuously, with two exceptions, from 1883 to the present day."1 This boast could be readily translated into the confession that he could not keep his hands off the Republican primaries whenever nominating conventions were about to meet to nominate candidates for state senators and assemblymen. 2 When it is considered that in thirty-six counties the assembly district was coterminous with the county3 and that the other sixty-four assemblymen were chosen from districts marked out by the boards of supervisors of the remaining twenty-three counties, it is clear why Platt and the state committee took such care in "recognizing" the proper county chairmen. In other words, the county "boss" who controlled the politics of his county had charge of the selec-

____________________
1
Op. cit., Introduction, p. xx.
2
New York Tribune, Dec. 4, 1897. Examples of his interference are given.
3
Fulton and Hamilton Counties were grouped together. They constituted the only exception to the statement made above, which is based on constitution of 1894.

-150-

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