Posts Tagged ‘Corrupt Politicians’

Hobos & Corrupt Chicago Politicians in Cahoots?

December 17, 2008
Soup Bone Balmett, Emperor of the Hobos

Soup Bone Balmett, Emperor of the Hobos

Who knew?

Next question: Which came first, the hobo or the corrupt Chicago Politician? I don’t know who the writers were for “Everylady’s Magazine,” but they sure didn’t mince their words! I sure wish they would have named names.

How the Wrecks of Humanity Swell a Great City’s Vice Record
From Everylady’s Magazine
From 20,000 to 60,000 jobless men are thrown into Chicago alone every winter. What does it mean to the public? First an enormous burden on the public charity. Every winter thousands of old men and cripples and weaklings and hopeless drunkards wrecks of the road come to the end in hospital asylum and poor house.

Second the increase of street holdups in winter. So long as the hobo army comes in just so long you may be certain that hundreds of them will turn thugs before the winter is over. Then whole outlaw manner of living tends to kill the instincts for order and most of them have been rolled (robbed) so many times in the first week of sprees after reaching town that it doubtless seems natural enough when driven to it by hunger and cold to turn about and work the same game.

Third they swell the city’s vice. Hundreds of saloons brothels and dives of all kinds are run to get what money they bring. And besides spreading the most loathsome of diseases they create centers all through the tenements for the children of our workingmen to watch –and grow wise.

Finally–the lodging house vote. This deep stronghold of political corruption is well known to most of the reading public. The newspapers have graphically described it, reform organisations have attacked it in many hard fought campaigns. And still year by year it grows. The dollar paid for the vote is only a small part of it, the bond between the hobo and the boss is much more human. The boss is always their friend. When they are hard up he gives them a drink and a free lunch in his corner saloon or a free flop (bunk) in the lodging house of a friend of his. He gets them odd jobs in winter. And in time of trouble with the police he is again on hand. So he gets their votes. And he will so long as the army of hobos comes in.

And so long will the hobo continue to pull down the physical, moral, and public health of the city.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) 14 Jun 1908

Maybe this was the precursor to the “pay to play” schemes of modern days.