Get your fill of sci-fi, science, and mockery of stupid people
* FAQ    * Search   * Login 
Want to support this site? Click

Quote of the Week: "In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own." - Alexis de Tocqueville, French writer (1805-1859)


All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Teddy Roosevelt's 'Doomed' War On New York Vice PostPosted: 2012-03-26 05:29am
Offline
Sith Marauder
User avatar

Joined: 2002-10-30 07:40pm
Posts: 4356
Location: In a dark reflection of a better world
http://www.npr.org/2012/03/25/149000761/teddy-roosevelts-doomed-war-on-new-york-vice

Quote:
Teddy Roosevelt's 'Doomed' War On New York Vice

by NPR Staff
Listen to the Story

All Things Considered
[8 min 57 sec]

Add to Playlist
Download
Transcript


Island of Vice

Island of Vice

Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York

by Richard Zacks

Hardcover, 431 pages | purchase

Politics & Public Affairs
Nonfiction
History & Society

More on this book:

NPR reviews, interviews and more
Read an excerpt

The Bowery, under the shadow of the elevated train tracks in New York City, bustled at night with colored lights and cane-swirling barkers, in places such as the Lyceum Concert Garden.
Enlarge E. Idell Zeisloft/Courtesy Doubleday

The Bowery, under the shadow of the elevated train tracks in New York City, bustled at night with colored lights and cane-swirling barkers, in places such as the Lyceum Concert Garden.
Richard Zacks is the author of The Pirate Hunter, An Underground Education and History Laid Bare.
Kristine Y. Dahl/Courtesy Doubleday

Richard Zacks is the author of The Pirate Hunter, An Underground Education and History Laid Bare.
text size A A A
March 25, 2012

New York in the gilded age was a city of epic contrasts. Top-hatted swells in glossy carriages promenaded uptown, while just a few blocks south, poverty, crime and overcrowding were the order of the day.

And vice, let's not forget vice. New York was what was called a "wide-open" town, with gambling, prostitution and liquor available on almost every corner. The cops and the Democratic machine politicians of Tammany Hall mostly looked the other way — when they weren't actively involved.

But in 1895, a new sheriff came to town. Literally. Voters threw out the corrupt Democratic administration in favor of reform-minded Republicans, and Theodore Roosevelt was appointed police commissioner.

Author Richard Zacks tells weekends on All Things Considered host Laura Sullivan that Roosevelt was a man on a mission: He was going to root out the corruption, and vice and clean up the city.

"In hindsight, what he was trying to do, it's like somebody going into Vegas and just saying, there's gonna be no more gambling," says Zacks, the author of the new book Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York.

The book's title pretty much says it all: While Roosevelt had the best of intentions, he faced a terribly uphill battle.

"It was mind-boggling," Zacks says. "This was the dirtiest city, policemen were taking bribes to let you do almost anything."

Roosevelt was up against adversaries like Capt. William "Big Bill" Devery, terror of the Eldridge Street precinct house. "Notorious for 'see, hear, say nothing; eat, drink, pay nothing,'" Zacks says. "He was one of the most corrupt cops in New York City history. Winds up becoming chief of police."

Roosevelt initially enjoyed great success and popularity for standing up to men like Devery, but he squandered that political capital on a hopeless crusade: enforcing the city's Sunday liquor sales ban.

"I think Roosevelt didn't see any gray areas," Zacks says. "He saw black and white, and this was illegal, it was conspicuous, everyone knew about it, and he went after it."

In his determination to enforce all the laws — even the unpopular ones — Roosevelt earned the anger of almost the entire city. Voters turned against the reforming Republicans, sweeping Tammany back into office in the next election. And Roosevelt went on to a much broader stage: national politics.

"I think the lasting impact was more for Roosevelt, frankly, than for the city," Zacks says. "He learned to make speeches ... he learned to handle an audience ... he found himself on the front pages of the newspapers and he had to deal with it. He also achieved a national reputation as a law-and-order reform Republican. And it worked very well for him."


Listened to this on the radio today. The author compares ridding Gilded Age New York's corruption to trying to rid Las Vegas of gambling. That alone I just found stunning, unless it's just blatant hyperbole.



"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed,or numbered. I am a free man. My life is my own" Number 6
The Prisoner

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: Teddy Roosevelt's 'Doomed' War On New York Vice PostPosted: 2012-03-27 04:00pm
Offline
Jedi Knight
User avatar

Joined: 2011-11-17 12:20am
Posts: 517
Nope, sounds about right. It was called the Gilded Age for a reason - below the sparkly mansions and fortunes of the robber barons were the methods they used to make those fortunes, which were often morally bankrupt or outright illegal.

Top
 Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group