To many reformers of the early twentieth century, Tammany Hall came to symbolize all that was baleful and corrupt in American politics. A Response to Progressivism vigorously challenges this view as it applies to Boss Charlie Murphy's own "czardom," the city, and, for a time, the state of New York. More than that, the study offers an analysis of the New York Democratic party against a background of profound economic and social change and a truly complex political environment a political culture, broadly speaking that embraced a competitive two-party system; a polity divided along sectional and ethnocultural lines; and a fickle, skeptical electorate.Key figures such as Murphy and his youthful lieutenants, Alfred E. Smith and Robert F. Wagner, often battled fellow Democrats Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas Mott Osborne as much as the Republicans, Theodore Roosevelt s Progressives, and the emergent Socialist party in their continuing efforts to accommodate the currents of reform then sweeping across the state. The author concludes the book with the election of Al Smith as governor in 1918, a momentous event not only in the transformation of the Democratic party in New York as the main vehicle for political, economic, and social change, but also in the development of modern American liberalism itself.Besides reassessing the role of "bossism" and the political machine in the early twentieth century, A Response to Progressivism also documents the political history of the era. It will therefore have substantial appeal not only to historians of New York but also to political historians, political scientists, and to readers interested in the history of reform."
Publisher: New York University Press