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 XII
PERSONAL QUALITIES OF PLATT AND ROOSEVELT

There can be little question that Thomas Collier Platt was the established leader of the unofficial government of the state of New York during Roosevelt's official headship of that government. As governor, Roosevelt's duties were for the most part set forth in the constitution, the statutes, and the judicial decisions of the state, but Platt's duties as manager of the Republican party of the state depended merely upon party custom and upon personal connections with the members of the party hierarchy. Though less ostensible and less clearly defined than Roosevelt's leadership, Platt's leadership was nevertheless real. Did a local politician want to know the program of the next state convention? He went to Platt rather than to Roosevelt. Did a factional leader wish to have the stamp of "regularity" put upon his organization? He laid his case before Platt. Did a local committeeman desire some money to run a primary or to conduct an election campaign? Was the chairman of the state committee pressed for funds? Platt handled such matters without requiring vouchers or even receipts. Did a county chairman wish to place some of his influential constituents in state or federal offices? Did the editor of a party organ wish a diplomatic post? These men got in touch with Platt as well as with the official heads of the government who nominally made the appointments. Governmental officials as well as party workers were among those who saw Platt. A legislator who wanted to get upon a certain com-

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