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And many of these saloons were owned by party bosses, or those serving them.
Pub patrons and machine supporters were offered a “free lunch” upon purchase of alcohol, but this subsidy was not “free.” The price paid was one’s political loyalty, the cost exacted was democracy.
These politicians were easily enough bought by party bosses who bribed officials directing lucrative city building contracts to machine controlled companies and contract jobs to the machine’s base of voters.
In the process, leaders like William Tweed became fabulously wealthy, with various estimates suggesting he pilfered between million to 0 million in funds from Tammany Hall and the city of New York.
In the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, the political center of many political machines was the saloon.
Poor Americans were forced to trade one of their most basic rights – the power to choose their leaders – for securing the basic means of survival.
The point of this story is that, prior to the rise of the modern welfare state, poor immigrants and other disadvantaged groups in America were forced to sell themselves to party bosses to provide for basic needs.
By the 1930s, party machines had been all but wiped away in American cities.
De Vos and Education “Reform” This brings us back to De Vos.