Skip to main content

"Where Will Tammany Have to Stop?"

image 1image 2image 3image 4cropped image 1


Aye, there is the rub. She has given way to the Irish party this time, and as to stopping hereafter, it must be with a "snub" or not at all. Next fall see what the Irish will demand! If they should say, give us the nomination of half the ticket for the legislature, or we will put a ticket of our own in the field and let the whigs succeed, can Tammany give way?1 For the honor of American principle and feelings, our birthrights by inheritance, we should hope not. But she has given way now, in hopes to save the city—and even in this the success of Tammany has been but partial. Next fall if Tammany yields, her ascendency in this city is lost forever. An independent party will be formed, composed of natives of all sides, that will sweep the city like a whirlwind.2 Now, suppose that a new election takes place in the Sixth ward,3 will American democrats give way to Irish dictation? If Tammany permits it, let the Americans of both sides unite and form a ticket, and say to Catholic foreigners, your dictation is at an end.


1. Tammany Hall was the central organization of the Democratic Party in New York City during the antebellum period, and Irish Democrats increasingly influenced the city's politics, a fact that Whitman, as editor of the Aurora, decried. For more information, see Amy Bridges, A City in the Republic: Antebellum New York and the Origins of Machine Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 99. [back]

2. Although he possessed a great admiration for the Irish, especially some of his close friends, in his later life, in early published works Whitman was quite venomous towards the Irish immigrants, especially Irish Catholics. For more information, see Joann P. Krieg, Walt Whitman and the Irish (Iowa City: Iowa University Press), 16. [back]

3. The Sixth Ward is an area of New York City, of which the Five Points is the center. The Five Points was a region of the city where Worth, Baxter, and Park streets all intersected. The area was notorious for its poverty and high crime rates, becoming something of a tourist attraction for the wealthy who wanted to see the slum. For more information, see Kevin Baker, "The First Slum in America," The New York Times, September 30, 2001; and American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, "Map of New York City's Sixth Ward and Surrounding Areas, 1899," HERB: Social History for Every Classroom, (accessed March 29, 2018, [back]

Back to top