Tammany Hall Essay Example


Tammany Hall (TH) was more of a force for evil than good in Gilded Age New York City because they stole 50 million dollars from taxpayers through corrupt practices such as kickbacks, bribery, and insider information. One of the corrupt practices the Tammany men used was kickbacks, which meant that TH had salesmen write up bills of sales that were for more than the products were worth. Then TH men would get the enlarged payment from the PT in order to   give a kickback to the salesperson and keep the extra for TH. This helped to make sure that salesmen were in the “Tammany Ring.” The Tammany men also helped struggling immigrants in return  for their allegiance. They would help immigrants who did not know the consequences of accepting this help and use it to gain money and power. In the future, they would ask these immigrants for various things such as to vote for a certain candidate, to write receipts for items that were not purchased. The last corrupt practice the Tammany men used was Insider information. This meant that the Tammany men would know private information about where infrastructure was being built (on undeveloped land) and bought that land at a very low price. After the infrastructure was built the price of the property would skyrocket and the men would sell the property, keeping the difference. Tammany Hall stole an incredible amount of money from taxpayers and the government, used corrupt practices to steal money and, manipulated the ballots. 

 The economic successes of New York City’s most powerful entrepreneurs during the Gilded Age were only done for their benefit because they treated workers poorly, created monopolies, and disregarded laws. These men paid their workers unfair wages depriving them of a chance to provide for their families (A The Rise of Captains of Industry). This shows that they do not value the well-being of their city but only their financial success. They also created monopolies that did not let new men enter the industry, which would be illegal today (A The Rise of Captains of Industry). When a monopoly is created the fares can be raised and makes the service no longer accessible to poorer New Yorkers. The public could not necessarily afford these prices. These people are essentially robbing the New Yorkers of access to public services such as transportation which further shows that these entrepreneurs did not care about the well-being of the city. Vanderbilt once said Vanderbilt once said ‘Law! What do I care about law? H’aint I got power.’”(B Cornelius Vanderbilt Case Study). This shows that Vanderbilt and other men of the time manipulated their power to bypass laws and received special treatment. In conclusion, these entrepreneurs should be considered Robber Barons because they only did things for their financial gain. 

Although immigrants came to New York City in search of a better life, NYC did not meet their expectations due to child labor, discrimination against the Chinese, and Ellis Island. Many children living in the lower parts of Manhattan were forced to work alongside their parents in terrible conditions, such as rooms with no windows. If children were too young to work they were often left alone where many accidents occurred. During the Gilded age, there was a huge amount of nativist propaganda against the Chinese. Chinese immigration was completely banned as well since the Chinese were considered “dangerous”. Most immigrants traveled to New York City through Ellis Island. To reach Ellis Island immigrants would travel by boat (most in the steerage) where many immigrants were extremely seasick, it smelled horrible and it was extremely full. Once they reached Ellis island they had to wait for a long time, pass countless physical and mental tests and some immigrants even died in quarantine. New York City was a place many thought was full of opportunities and hope but in reality,  forced many immigrants to live in extreme poverty lacking necessities.

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