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King of the Bowery: Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany Hall, and New York City from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era

King of the Bowery: Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany Hall, and New York City from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This book is the first complete study of Timothy D. Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany chieftain and kingmaker, King of the Lower East Side, and, to some, King of the Underworld. Sullivan was a pivotal figure in the late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century urban politics. A master of the personal, paternalistic, and corrupt no-holds-barred politics of the nineteenth century, he heartily embraced progressive causes in his later years and anticipated many of the policies and initiatives later pursued by Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who were early acquaintances and sometimes antagonists of Sullivan. The story of Big Tim Sullivan is the story of New York City as it emerged from the nineteenth century to the onset of modernity. Sullivan was a rags-to-riches story, a poor Irish kid from the Five Points who rose through ambition, shrewdness, and charisma to become the most powerful single politician in New York by 1909. Sullivan was quick to embrace and harness the shifting demographic patterns of the Lower East Side, recruiting Jewish and Italian newcomers into his largely Irish organization--his machine within a machine--meeting the newcomers' needs, taking their votes, and creating a personal following that made him invincible in his downtown bastion. Richard F. Welch is a professor at C. W. Post College of Long Island University.

Book News Annotation:

Paradoxically, says Welch (history, Long Island U.) Sullivan (1862-1913) was both the last great practitioner of 19th-century urban politics and an early supporter of progressive legislation in New York State. He provided social and economic support to the poor and working class, and immigrants and their children but was detested by the city's finer classes. The biography sets his classic rags-to-riches tale against the changing nature of politics and the rise of New York into a world city. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
Welch, Richard F.
United states
New york (n.y.)
Publication Date:
January 2009

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Americana » New York

King of the Bowery: Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany Hall, and New York City from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era
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Product details pages Fairleigh Dickinson University Press - English 9780838641767 Reviews:
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