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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="XLIII"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XLIII</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">The Rule of the Bosses</h2> <p>General Dru was ever fond of talking to Senator Selwyn. He found his virile mind a never-failing source of information. Busy as they both were they often met and exchanged opinions. In answer to a question from Dru, Selwyn said that while Pennsylvania and a few other States had been more completely under the domination of bosses than others, still the system permeated everywhere.</p> <p>In some States a railroad held the power, but exercised it through an individual or individuals.</p> <p>In another State, a single corporation held it, and yet again, it was often held by a corporate group acting together. In many States one individual dominated public affairs and more often for good than for evil.</p> <p>The people simply would not take enough interest in their Government to exercise the right of control.</p> <p>Those who took an active interest were used as a part of the boss&#8217; tools, be he a benevolent one or otherwise.</p> <p>&#8220;The delegates go to the conventions,&#8221; said Selwyn, &#8220;and think they have something to do with the naming of the nominees, and the making of the platforms. But the astute boss has planned all that far in advance, the candidates are selected and the platform written and both are &#8216;forced&#8217; upon the unsuspecting delegate, much as the card shark forced his cards upon his victim. It is all seemingly in the open and above the boards, but as a matter of fact quite the reverse is true.</p> <p>&#8220;At conventions it is usual to select some man who has always been honored and respected, and elect him chairman of the platform committee. He is pleased with the honor and is ready to do the bidding of the man to whom he owes it.</p> <p>&#8220;The platform has been read to him and he has been committed to it before his appointment as chairman. Then a careful selection is made of delegates from the different senatorial districts and a good working majority of trusted followers is obtained for places on the committee. Someone nominates for chairman the &#8216;honored and respected&#8217; and he is promptly elected.</p> <p>&#8220;Another member suggests that the committee, as it stands, is too unwieldy to draft a platform, and makes a motion that the chairman be empowered to appoint a sub-committee of five to outline one and submit it to the committee as a whole.</p> <p>&#8220;The motion is carried and the chairman appoints five of the &#8217;tried and true.&#8217; There is then an adjournment until the sub-committee is ready to report.</p> <p>&#8220;The five betake themselves to a room in some hotel and smoke, drink and swap stories until enough time has elapsed for a proper platform to be written.</p> <p>&#8220;They then report to the committee as a whole and, after some wrangling by the uninitiated, the platform is passed as the boss has written it without the addition of a single word.</p> <p>&#8220;Sometimes it is necessary to place upon the sub-committee a recalcitrant or two. Then the method is somewhat different. The boss&#8217; platform is cut into separate planks and first one and then another of the faithful offers a plank, and after some discussion a majority of the committee adopt it. So when the sub-committee reports back there stands the boss&#8217; handiwork just as he has constructed it.</p> <p>&#8220;Oftentimes there is no subterfuge, but the convention, as a whole, recognizes the pre-eminent ability of one man amongst them, and by common consent he is assigned the task.&#8221;</p> <p>Selwyn also told Dru that it was often the practice among corporations not to bother themselves about state politics further than to control the Senate.</p> <p>This smaller body was seldom more than one-fourth as large as the House, and usually contained not more than twenty-five or thirty members.</p> <p>Their method was to control a majority of the Senate and let the House pass such measures as it pleased, and the Governor recommend such laws as he thought proper. Then the Senate would promptly kill all legislation that in any way touched corporate interests.</p> <p>Still another method which was used to advantage by the interests where they had not been vigilant in the protection of their &#8220;rights,&#8221; and when they had no sure majority either in the House or Senate and no influence with the Governor, was to throw what strength they had to the stronger side in the factional fights that were always going on in every State and in every legislature.</p> <p>Actual money, Selwyn said, was now seldom given in the relentless warfare which the selfish interests were ever waging against the people, but it was intrigue, the promise of place and power, and the ever effectual appeal to human vanity.</p> <p>That part of the press which was under corporate control was often able to make or destroy a man&#8217;s legislative and political career, and the weak and the vain and the men with shifty consciences, that the people in their fatuous indifference elect to make their laws, seldom fail to succumb to this subtle influence.</p>
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