So This Is Tammany Hall!


JUDGE GAYNOR, speaking in Tammany Hall immediately after ids election as mayor of New York City in 1909, delighted his audience with his opening sentence, ‘So this is Tammany Hall!’ Thus he recorded a fresh impression with ironic humor. It was his first view of the interior of the famous Wigwam on Fourteenth Street. All his adult life Tammany had been a power in his environment and it had just pushed him to the peak of his career. Nevertheless, as a busy New Yorker and a resident of home-keeping Brooklyn, he knew not the sacred precincts and inner workings of the organization that, more than any other force, had been dominating the metropolis throughout his lifetime.

Tammany is a power known by name to all Americans; but to most of them it is merely a name of sinister connotation. For that matter few of those who support Tammany consistently know its background; just as few of its thousands of district workers know what is going on in Tammany’s inner circle. Moreover, the inner circle often is not taken entirely into the confidence of the ‘big boss,’so completely does Tammany accept authority. Consequently it is no wonder that Tammany must be thoroughly explained in order to be comprehended as a vital and apparently enduring element in the American political system.

Since the days of Nast the cartoonists’ symbol for Tammany Hall has been the tiger. If the possession of at least nine lives is characteristic of the larger members of the feline family, the symbol fits. No other political organization in America has been killed so often, yet none enjoys better health to-day.

The Society of Saint Tammany was founded on May 12, 1789, two weeks after the establishment of the United States Government. Within the one hundred and thirty-five years of its uninterrupted existence it has received both the adulation and the contempt of the populace. It has shared in some of the purest aspirations and yet has violated nearly every canon of decency. At times it has attracted public servants of unselfish patriotism and at other times its agents have acted with sordid disregard of right. But, good and bad, Tammany lives on. Again and again in its long history, it has been forsaken by the people, only to be returned to power within an incredibly brief space. In truth the alternation of Tammany and reform governments in New York City has had almost an astronomical quality. A mathematician, by charting Tammany’s orbit, might predict its appearances and its periods of eclipse with the assurance that as the earth moves about the sun, or as the moon waxes and wanes, so, after a season of exile and hunger, Tammany will once more be joyfully enthroned in the hearts of the people.

Nor is this a reflection on the intelligence or morals of those who live on Manhattan Island. New York City has a large undigested alien population, as, incidentally, have many of the larger American cities; but it is still to be proved that the strangers within our gates have taught any guile to the hard-headed Yankees they found upon the scene. New Yorkers are neither better nor worse than their fellow countrymen. New York is merely the largest and the richest community in the New World and in consequence its politics, like its business, have been conducted in the grand manner. Tammany is conspicuous by the enormity of its sins and the magnitude and continuance of its successes; but what has happened on Manhattan Island has in varying degrees been repeated in most American communities. From a purely political standpoint, Tammany is essentially like the dominant political organizations of other American cities. William Marcy Tweed, the ‘Boss’ Tweed of an evil chapter in municipal history, admitted that Philadelphia taught New York the fine art of ‘repeating’ — fraudulent voting. The Tammany purposes and methods have been typical of the political development of the United States; for good and for evil its leaders have been characteristically American, whatever their place or origin.

An open and unprejudiced mind, however, is needed if Tammany is to be seen in perspective. Nothing is gained by denying its faults or ignoring its virtues. Grant it a blanket indulgence; its opponents, including all the great metropolitan dailies, offset this with a blanket indictment. Both methods lead nowhere. Tammany is neither all pure gold nor all sinful black, but striped with both colors, like the tiger it has chosen for a symbol.

The most important book on the subject is Gustavus Myers’s History of Tammany Hall. Mr. Myers’s scholarly researches are valuable indeed. He has digested and made available vast numbers of public reports. Everyone who would understand the development of Tammany is his debtor. His history, however, is essentially a compilation of sins. But as the poor are not always the miserable, despite the imaginings of the pathetic school of novelists, so Tammany’s history is by no means all bribery and corruption. It is historically untrue to portray Tammany as the complete villain in the metropolitan melodrama.

This brief incursion into the territory of the famous ‘Braves’ of New York’s Wigwam is to ascertain why, despite the sins which have been so adequately chronicled, the decent people of New York City tolerate Tammany. The question can be the more easily answered if this political tiger is approached as a biologist would pursue a problem in natural history — openeyed and without confusing preconceptions.


The explanation of Tammany’s persistent strength is simple. Tammany Hall has never been radical, but espouses popular causes. Moreover, since the early decades of the nineteenth century it has been the professed friend of aliens in a city constantly being resettled by immigrants. It has had singularly attractive social and charitable features and its leaders, from one generation to another, have understood the average man. The ‘human equation’ has had few mysteries for them. Most important of all, Tammany has made a business of politics. The men who have advanced in the organization have worked systematically and intelligently. They have taken their politics as seriously as other men take their profession or business. Tammany’s record as a pioneer of movements for giving larger privileges to the masses of the people is long and persuasive. William Mooney, a Revolutionary soldier and the keeper of an upholstery shop, organized the society. Its first members were the ‘Liberty Boys’—advocates of American independence, who were aligned against Tories in particular and aristocrats in general. Tammany was created to offset the influence of the newly formed Society of the Cincinnati, which it was feared might be the nucleus of an hereditary aristocracy. At that time suffrage was strictly a privilege of property. Veterans of the Revolution who had borne hardships of war found themselves disfranchised at its close, while rich Tories who had sided with Great Britain were able to vote after Alexander Hamilton had restored their privileges, Tammany became the spokesman of manhood suffrage. The struggle was long and bitter. It is almost impossible now to realize the contempt with which the aristocrats viewed the aspirations of those who would vote without the qualifications of property. Tammany became entrenched in the affections of the common people by advocating this cause and its victory founded Tammany’s prestige.

Tammany aligned itself against imprisonment for debt from the beginning. Under the debtor’s law, it was estimated that as many as 10,000 unfortunates were imprisoned during a single year. At one time the legislature was informed that upward of a thousand debtors were confined in the New York jail. These wretches, kept in prison at the will of their creditors, were neither fed nor clothed by the public authority. Although Tammany’s zeal in campaigning for a repeal of these barbarous acts often flagged, by and large during the generation of agitation which passed before the reform was won, Tammany was on the side of the poor man. Let this be remembered to its credit.

The patron saints of American democrats during the first half of the nineteenth century were Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. The Tammany Society became an active ally of both of these Presidents. Many of their particular issues have little significance today. Certainly the Jackson campaign against the United States Bank has lost its meaning for a generation which seeks financial stability in the Federal Reserve System. But a hundred years ago the bank issue roused the country. Wisely or unwisely, the ‘under dogs’ were with Jackson. Tammany shared in the spoils of Old Hickory’s victory.

The Tammany of that early day also took the popular side of the corporation issue. A large group of American citizens, often a majority, opposed the formation of corporations. The opposition was futile but it seems to have been almost instinctive. The issue — still fundamental — of the proper place of the corporation in the State, was then being fought in every industrial and commercial community. Corporations have of course prospered despite every attempt on the part of legislatures and congresses to thwart their growth; and often, in specific struggles, certain ones have had no more dependable allies than the Tammany leaders. Still, nominally at least, Tammany has professed an anti-corporation creed from the days of Jackson’s contest with Nicholas Biddle down to the present warfare of Mayor Hylan against the companies which operate New York City’s transit facilities.

In all these matters Tammany has consistently preached, even if it has not always practised, what its leaders believed to be popular.

In 1868 the Democratic National Convention, held in the new Tammany Hall, nominated Tammany’s candidate, Horatio Seymour, for the Presidency. Tammany campaigned as the friend of the poor. The general committee, with ‘Boss’ Tweed in the chair, appealed for the election of Seymour in these words: —

‘ We believe in our cause. It is the cause of constitutional liberty, of personal rights, of a fraternity of States, of an economical government, of the financial credit of the nation, of one currency for all men, rich and poor, and of the political supremacy of the white race and the protection of American labor.... Is not the pending contest preeminently one of capital against labor, of money against popular rights, of political power against the struggling interests of the masses?’

This is a characteristic utterance.

On one great issue, human slavery, the Democratic Party conspicuously failed, and Tammany, as its New York City agent, shared in that failure. Yet in general, Tammany kept in tune with the feelings of workingmen. It supported Horace Greeley for the Presidency. During the dark years of reconstruction it stood for reconciliation with the South. It opposed the grants of public lands to railroads; and one of its favorite sons, the present Governor Alfred E. Smith, is largely responsible for the final enactment of New York’s progressive industrial code.

Charles F. Murphy himself introduced the resolution pledging the Democratic Party of the State of New York to seek the direct election of United States Senators. The first legislative proposal looking to the regulation of public utilities was made in 1906 by a Tammany Senator. Approval of the federal amendment making possible the establishment of the income-tax system was brought about by Tammany legislators. Members of the same organization were conspicuous in the fight to prevent electric-power companies from destroying the scenic beauty of Niagara Falls. Numerous laws designed to protect working men and women and their children have been placed upon the statute books by the power of Tammany.

In none of these matters was Tammany a voice crying in the wilderness. It has always been contemptuous of what its leaders call ‘idealistic reform.’ But once reform has won enough adherents to pass into the stage of practical politics, Tammany has been quick to pledge itself to whatever it believed would benefit the majority of its constituents. This foresight in part accounts for its persistent power.

In the municipal affairs of New York City, Tammany, despite the sordid peculations of many of its leaders and members, has evidenced imagination. Many of the significant achievements of the city are due to Tammany men. Central Park is a typical example. The suggestion which led to the creation of the park was first officially broached in 1851 by Mayor A. C. Kingland, a Whig, although Tweed is credited by some for the conception. Succeeding Tammany governments seized upon the idea and carried it through to completion.

In these public enterprises Tammany politicians have not always been actuated by the purest motives. On the contrary, scandals resulting from purchases of property for the city and from the letting of contracts on public works account for much of the ill fame of the organization. Nevertheless, building has been continuous. Tammany was responsible for the creation of Riverside Drive, that magnificent boulevard along the Hudson; Tammany was responsible for the Croton Aqueduct, and later for the tunnels and lakes through which New York brought its water more than a hundred miles from the Catskills; Tammany built Brooklyn Bridge. Long ago this link between the two populous boroughs of Greater New York has been dwarfed by other structures, but at the time of its completion in 1883 it was a symbol of the might of the metropolis. Tammany, whatever the shortcomings of some of its leaders, has thus been consistently a creator. It advocated public schools and it has supported the College of the City of New York. Tweed himself was responsible for housing the Metropolitan Museum in Central Park. Tammany saw the possibility of creating a system of public wharves. This enterprise too bred its scandal, but to-day New York actually possesses the docks. Tammany’s sins are forgiven because Tammany officials have more initiative than interim ‘reform’ governments. Tammany’s driving power constructed the subways, the operation of which has been the centre of contention during Mayor Hylan’s two administrations. Tammany not only favored municipally owned subways after two of its financial allies ceased to be interested in the transit companies, but also took the further step of demanding city operation. This, with its fight for a five-cent fare, which goes back to Cleveland’s time, alone explains much of the strength which the ancient organization has possessed during the last seven years.


Tammany’s ability to keep its principles in harmony with the views of the masses of the people is also proved by its attitude toward immigrants. During its early years the organization was dominated by an anti-alien spirit not unlike that recently roused in various parts of America. In 1817 Tammany was publicly accused of considering a change in its constitution through which foreign-born might be excluded from holding office. The allegation was denied, but Tammany for some time continued to be considered anti-foreign and in particular anti-Irish. On one famous occasion a mob of two hundred Irishmen invaded the Wigwam for the purpose of protesting against discrimination. They were expelled after a riot. But a few years thereafter Tammany became the recognized friend of the immigrant and demanded that the period of naturalization be shortened.

During all the subsequent veering tides of immigration Tammany has maintained its position as the constant ally of the new citizen. This was the case back in the years around 1850 when hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and Northern Europe were entering the United States, and it was still true sixty years later when the newer immigration from Central and Southern Europe was in full tide. In truth, there has been no more interesting political phenomenon in this country than the adaptability shown by Tammany in winning the allegiance of widely various immigrant groups. ‘Big Tim’ Sullivan, one of the more famous of the leaders of the last few years, once boasted that he had made Columbus Day a holiday in order to please the Italian voters. Sullivan may have taken too much credit for the creation of this new festival, yet it is undeniably true that the political Irishman has been a vigilant shepherd of Italian and Jewish voters.

Tammany is not only the first friend of the newly arrived alien, it is also the kindly acquaintance of any voter who happens to need whatever services a politician can render. Its social and charitable features are of ancient origin. The Society of Saint Tammany was at first a patriotic institution, definitely anti-British. Both Federalists and Republicans were members. It made much of the Fourth of July, its orators extolling the virtues of native Americans and in particular of the legendary Indian Chief Tammany, whose name was given to the organization. A museum of Indian relics was maintained and the thirteen sachems who ruled the organization were the titular heads of as many tribes. It was from the first a club, a poor man’s club. By the turn of the eighteenth century, however, Tammany had shed its Federalists and was accepted as a definite part of the so-called Republican, that is the Jeffersonian or Democratic, political organization.

In 1805 the society obtained a charter from the Legislature as a benevolent and charitable body ‘for the purpose of affording relief to the indigent and distressed members of said association, their widows and orphans, and others who may be the proper objects of their charity.’ This Tammany Society still lives and owns the structure known as Tammany Hall. Out of members of the Society the political organization known as Tammany Hall was formed. The Society and the Hall are seldom separated in the public mind, yet they exercise slightly different functions, even though their memberships interlock to some extent. The Society of Saint Tammany is responsible for the social and charitable features which have done so much to strengthen the political organization. Fitz-Greene Halleck expressed a tradition which has not yet perished, even though the porter is no longer obtainable, when he wrote concerning the saloon beneath a former home of the organization: —

There’s a barrel of porter at Tammany Hall,
And the Bucktails are swigging it all the night long;
In time of my boyhood ‘t was pleasant to call
For a seat and a cigar mid the jovial throng.

New York is too large a city for Tammany Hall to be the physical meeting-place of its multitudinous members, but the district organizations have their own clubs where comradeship is kept alive. Many Tammany men never appear in the Hall. Judge Gaynor, as we have seen, entered it only after Tammany had made him Mayor. Until recently, of course, the saloons were also familiar meeting-places for members of the organization. The late Charles F. Murphy got his start in politics through the barrooms which he owned. Disappearance of the recognized liquor centre has not, however, diminished the interest of Tammany in social affairs. The early manhood of such a conspicuous member of the organization as Governor Alfred E. Smith, the child of an East Side teamster, found its chief color in the organization in his district. ‘Al’ Smith and tens of thousands of his fellows were made to feel at home in district Tammany clubs. Vast numbers of the old New Yorkers have the same kindly memories of this political organization which others have of their colleges.

About thirty-five district clubs in the Tammany Manhattan organization own their properties. In Charles F. Murphy’s old Twelfth District alone there are now three Tammany clubs. Perhaps the most famous is the Downtown Tammany Club at 59 Madison Street, near Governor Smith’s old home, which is run under the ægis of Tom Foley, one of the last of the oldtype leaders. Foley began life as a saloonkeeper and his ways have been none too gentle. But year after year he has retained power despite changes in the racial character of his district. It is a tradition there that as the children of his neighborhood grow into boyhood and desire to organize baseball teams they can rely on ‘Old Tom’ for aid in buying the desired equipment. Later these boys of German, Italian, Irish, Jewish, and American stock find a welcome at Tom Foley’s club. The district leader of the Foley or Murphy type keeps in constant touch with his people. If a man wants a job, one of his Tammany friends will try to find work for him. If one of the ‘boys’ gets into a fight and is arrested, he naturally looks to Tammany for relief. Tammany is literally a friend at court. In a perfect world justice would be so even-handed that none would need such alliances; but in our practical compromising civilization many whose sins are slight arc freed on a good word spoken by a neighbor with political associations.

Tammany is consistently a friend to unfortunates. It does not administer relief with the regularity or the intelligence, for that matter, of a modern charity organization, but in bluff hearty fashion it makes its contributions when and where it pleases. Nor is this a recent development. The winter following the panic of 1837 was marked by unemployment, poverty, and suffering in New York. A Whig administration in power did nothing for the unemployed. Tammany promptly organized relief committees in various wards which distributed food, fuel, and clothing. One prominent leader made a habit of going about with a large basket in which he collected articles of food for the hungry. The motives of the Tammany politicians who distributed their alms among the voters were challenged then as now, but after all Tammany has always had rivals whose political ethics did not lead them to such expressions of compassion, for the needy. Wisely or not the poor have remembered the aid given them in the pinches. ‘Boss’ Tweed, perhaps the most notorious figure American politics has developed, ran true to form in this line. During the winter of 1870-71, when another historic panic had paralyzed the country, Tweed gave $1000 to each alderman to buy coal for the poor. He distributed $50,000 in his own ward. Of course, it was later proved that he had stolen the money he gave away in charity, but New York remembered other venal persons who did not feel moved to share ill-gotten gains with their poverty-stricken fellow citizens.

Tammany has so managed its benevolence as to awaken and retain the goodwill of the recipients. Apart from political considerations this suggests a certain astuteness, since even those who make of philanthropy a profession do not always obtain gratitude for their efforts. Tammany’s leaders, most of whom have risen from poverty, possess a lively sense of both the needs and prides of the poor. Thus, while he was still an inconspicuous district leader, Charles F. Murphy contributed the larger part of $4000 given by the Tammany General Committee for the relief of those suffering during the blizzard of 1888. Of this sum, $1500 was given to Dr. W. S. Rainsford, rector of St. George’s Church, for distribution. Dr. Rainsford was so moved that he said from his pulpit that if all the Tammany leaders were like Mr. Murphy the organization would be admirable. Throughout its history this spirit has been often manifested. If the philanthropy of this political organization were to be contrasted with the giving of a well-managed social workers’ society with ample funds, its record might seem paltry; yet Tammany has been neighborly with its philanthropy.


The Tammany Society, which still operates under its charter as a benevolent institution, is managed by thirteen sachems, four of whom are also district leaders of Tammany Hall. The political organization rents the Wigwam from the Society. Often when the thirty-five district leaders who are the governing body of Tammany Hall meet, their deliberations are accompanied by rehearsals of companies from the uptown theatres which use the stage of this old building for breaking in new plays. Tammany is not all work.

Under the thirty-five assembly-district leaders are 998 election-district leaders, and 11,400 precinct workers in New York County. Technically Tammany is limited to New York County; in theory, which has little to do with fact, it is merely allied with the Democratic organizations in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

During the most of its history the actual leadership has centered in the hands of one man or of a small oligarchy. Aaron Burr was its first conspicuous leader. Fernando Wood, although for a time the leader of a rival organization, Mozart Hall, during his later life was one of the first Tammany rulers to acquire the title of ‘Boss.” William Marcy Tweed, whose thefts rose to millions, was essentially a one-man ruler. So, too, was ‘Honest’ John Kelly, who obtained authority when Tammany cleansed itself of Tweedism. Richard Crokcr and Charles F. Murphy carried on the dynasty.

The precinct workers, the electiondistrict captains, and the assemblydistrict leaders, are now all elected in direct primaries of the Democratic Party. Popular sanction can therefore be claimed for them. But year after year the same men are elected. In every Tammany district the workers call on the voters to urge every citizen to cast his ballot in the election. Manners and customs vary in different districts; but in many the election captain merely asks the citizen to vote. Of course, advice and information are given if the voter is uncertain as to the merits of competing candidates. Who is not occasionally uninformed as to some of the issues in these days of long ballots? Still, the main responsibility of the electioneer is to see that his people vote. Apathy on the part of citizens is a mark of incompetence to be checked against the leader.

Tammany Hall makes a business of politics and its leaders find that their energies are consumed by the work they do for their organization. District leaders are now generally employed as commissioners or deputy-commissioners in municipal departments at salaries ranging from $6500 to $10,000 a year. Until a few years ago the office of sheriff, which under the fee-system paid as much as $100,000 a year, was bestowed upon a favorite leader. It is interesting to recall that Governor Smith was the last to enjoy these fees. The dominant leaders seldom hold important offices. Their relationship to office-holding is comparable to the function the banker exercises toward business and industry.

In the changing history of American politics the customs and methods of Tammany have varied. An examination of the long and tangled record of bribery and corruption associated with such men as Tweed does not show that the morals of the Tammany legislators and executives were on a different plane from those of their rivals in the Whig or Republican parties. Tweed, whose loot has been estimated as high as $75,000,000, employed both Democrats and Republicans. The records of the past are in many instances shocking and some of the present deals are hardly less so. But Tammany corruption seems to rise and fall with the morals of the country. Boss Tweed himself was contemporaneous with the misconduct of some of those in high position during the Grant administration. At present Tammany is relatively clean; at least as clean as Washington — perhaps cleaner.

A dispassionate review of Tammany’s way with the voter develops a few clear impressions. The economic development of the United States in general and of New York in particular challenged a number of political theories which regardless of their validity were dear to the American people. During the early years hostility to corporations and especially to banks was widespread. Business, however, needed banks and the corporate organization of production and exchange. Consequently, Federalists and Anti-Federalists, Whigs and Tammany ‘Republicans,’ Democrats and Republicans of a later era, all by devious methods, yielded to the demands of business. Banks were created, railways built, public-service institutions established. Sometimes legislators were bribed. On the other occasions political bosses were made directors of great corporations. More recently contracts were given to the friends of politicians. But in every case the business man has sought some favor or some privilege from the public. If the politician has been bribed the business man was the briber, and if Tammany got its millions business got its tens of millions. It is obvious that the man who took the bribe was not the only criminal in the transaction. Monopoly often was necessary to the successful operation of a utility. By indirection the political leaders have frustrated the wishes of the masses of their constituents while doing the bidding of a few promoters of large enterprises. If public opinion had been better informed, if political leaders had been incorruptible, if business had scorned to stoop to debauch politicians, the history of New York and of the United States would have moved in channels far remote from those in which it has actually flowed. But Tammany has been composed of average men, good men and weak men, and, like their richer fellow citizens whom they served under cover, Tammany leaders have again and again been faithless to their trust.

The attitude of Tammany men toward corruption exposed in their organization is exactly like that of any other group of citizens. They use the word ‘purge’ in describing what takes place after a scandalous exposure. Tweed was succeeded by ‘Honest’ John Kelly, who purged the organization. Later, when vice and crime had flourished under the Croker régime, Tammany was again purged. That is to say, a few of the conspicuous wrongdoers were removed, new men were substituted for them, and the political hierarchy continued. This is the familiar human procedure. It is precisely what happened at Washington after the Senate Oil Committee brought out its sensational findings. Few Republicans abandoned their party because of the oil affair; few Tammanites leave the Hall when one of their leaders is caught in incriminating circumstances.

All along Tammany has accepted the standards and the customs of the time. Its leaders still speak of ‘idealism’ with that scorn with which practical men view the impracticable. But when an idealistic programme has won a sufficient body of support to count in politics, Tammany is quick to adopt it. Tammany’s great lack is social prestige. Tweed was made a convict and an outcast, but ‘silk-stockings’ who dealt with him went scathless. Richard Croker was never seen in the more exclusive stratum of New York society, hut Richard Croker’s business associates were men of impeccable standing. So too with Charles F. Murphy. There were no better names in financial America than those of the men who were the principal beneficiaries of Murphy’s most criticized acts. The critic of Tammany perceives in this dual relationship a certain insincerity. How can Tammany be the friend of the alien, the exponent of the views of the workingman, and the comrade of his leisure hours, and still in important public matters act as the secret servant of the rich? If human nature were logical there could be no answer to this question, but as it happens most of man’s institutions arc woven of contradictions.

The people of New York do not expect too much of politics. Time and again, they have revolted against Tammany’s wickedness only to find that a Whig, a Reformer, a Republican, or a Coalitionist was not more to their taste.

At the present time, a Tammany man is Governor of the State and it is the consensus that New York has had few wiser chief executives than is the former East-sider, Alfred E. Smith, who now occupies the Mansion at Albany. New York expects him to fill Murphy’s place later on. Smith has been a forward-looking leader and his record in public office may be favorably compared with that of any other of the recent governors of American states. John F. Hylan, Mayor of New York City, is a resident of Brooklyn and therefore not technically a Tammany man, although of course he is Tammany’s choice. Much has been said against the Hylan administration and much ought to be said, but the just charge against it is stupidity rather than dishonesty. In fighting the public utilities Hylan has shown little creative ability and in consequence he has complicated the city’s pressing problem of transportation. But when that has been said, it must also be admitted, as impartial investigators have testified, that New York is morally a clean city. Open prostitution is no longer tolerated. The ancient alliance between the vice and liquor interests and the politicians has fallen into desuetude and immorality has ceased to flaunt itself in the city streets. Tammany has again adapted itself to what it believes is desired by a majority of the people.

What the future holds for Tammany Hall is a matter of conjecture. Some observers believe that already Tammany Hall is but a shell. The disappearance of the saloon, the subsidence of officially recognized vice, the growing difficulty of maintaining illicit relations with corporate interests which seek gifts from governments — these influences, some hold, have withdrawn from Tammany those funds necessary to its existence. Perhaps this supposition is true, but it must be remembered popular governments are relatively new phenomena. Universal suffrage necessitates forms of political organization if the public business is to be carried on. Tammany is undeniably expert in political organization. Its leaders have mastered the art of appealing to hundreds of thousands of voters and of discovering the common denominator of their views. It seems hardly probable that the need for organization will vanish within the immediate future; or that Tammany Hall will lose the cunning in filling that need which it has so eminently possessed during the entire life of this republic.