Steffens Vs Plunkitt Essay

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Lincoln Steffens and George Washington Plunkitt had completely opposite views. Plunkitt used exploitation to make money. He gamed the system by having people in the Tammany system tip him off. While he was self absorbed, Steffens supported voter honesty and integrity. Steffens was critical of corrupt government and blamed the American people for allowing bad people in government. Steffens understood that political machines were running the cities and the cities had fallen under the control of the wealthy and greedy. Political machines like Tammany Hall exemplified this. Tammany Hall was a political organization run mostly by Democrats. They would essentially give people free stuff or favors in order to get votes. They were involved everywhere,…show more content…
He believed that when people elected bad leaders the end result was bad government. Human nature makes us blame others for our own mistakes and take the easy route while not doing what is right or what will benefit the common good. Business people are self absorbed just like Plunkitt in that they don't get involved in politics unless politics affected their business. When a business man is elected and becomes a politician they are often corrupted by political power and lose interest in reforming government. Steffens understood that people have the responsibility to elect good leaders, but the fact is, politics is driven by demand. Therefore, people can choose cheap trinkets or quality goods in both business and politics. Unfortunately, people tend to prefer the cheap and not the quality. This goes the same for what Steffens believed about Tammany Hall. He believed it was an organization who represented the low pay workers, and the low pay workers were not invested in good government. He cautioned the American people to demand "good politics", " punish bad", "reward good", and to "make politics pay". He felt if the American people would do the right thing and elect good leaders, we could have a good government. Plunkitt exemplifies corrupt government. He personifies what is cheap because he used corrupt methods in order to earn what he called "honest graft". Honest graft
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