Lesson 75. “How serious was Plunkitt about patriotism’s connection to obtaining a job after Tammany won an election?”


In this essay I will be looking at and answering the essay question above, which is derived from the biography of George W. Plunkitt as part of the 9th grade English RPC course.
Brief Overview
Before we begin answering the essay question, here is a brief overview of who George Washington Plunkitt was and what he did.

George Washington Plunkitt was a New York statesman and politician who lived from 1842 to 1924. He was also a leader of the Tammany Hall political association and interchangeably leader of the 17th and 11th districts of New York. After 1904, his political career ended and he died later in 1924.
Main body

So, moving back to the essay question, let me outline what exactly the question is talking about. Plunkitt was a cunning politician and he knew how to get support for election day. But throughout the autobiography, he has one large enemy, the Civil Service. Plunkitt hated the Civil Service, because it restricted many things in the area of politics, including jobs. This is where the essay question comes into play.

In Plunkitt’s day, the Civil Service was basically an organisation that was set up to make jobs in Politics harder to acquire. To get into Politics, you had to pass a Civil Service exam, in which the questions were very sophisticated and complicated. This meant that only intellectual young men who had educational knowledge could pass these examinations, therefore making the men who did pass, part of the elite and well-mannered politicians. This is what Plunkitt hated about Civil Service. Plunkitt was more concerned about practical knowledge, not college-level academic head knowledge.

Plunkitt saw this as a wasted opportunity, as many of the young, patriotic men would definitely have been suited for political jobs, but they were turned down because of the Civil Service. In the autobiography, Plunkitt also associates the Civil Service exams with the lack of patriotism found in men who had failed. He thought that failing these exams just because you could not answer a specific question was ridiculous.

Plunkitt claimed that these exams destroyed patriotism in young men who failed to pass. Plunkitt backed his claim up by presenting a couple of stories of young men who sank in depression after failing, which subsequently led them to not being patriotic anymore.
All in all, this goes to show that Plunkitt really despised the Civil Service for not handing out more jobs.

To summarise and conclude, this essay discussed and answered the essay question regarding Plunkitt and what he thought of patriotisms’ connection to obtaining a job after an election. My conclusion was that the Civil Service prevented young patriotic men from getting more jobs and also destroyed their patriotic passion.


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