Cover image for A rough ride to Albany : Teddy runs for governor
A rough ride to Albany : Teddy runs for governor
Corry, John A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : J.A. Corry ; Bronx, NY : Distributed to the trade by Fordham University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
310 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
Maps on endpapers.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F124 .C77 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Just as essential to Theodore Roosevelt's accession to the Presidency as his charge up San Juan Hill was his election as Governor of New York four months later. A defeat would have seriously set back and perhaps even destroyed his chances to gain the White House. Yet, until A Rough Ride to Albany, no book has devoted itself primarily to that hard-fought uphill campaign, which he barely won only after a series of energetic "whistle stop" tours, and in which he displayed for the first time a unique power to stir audiences that has rarely been seen in American politics. The book also describes how Roosevelt had to balance his commitment to reform with the positions of New York's Republican leadership, which did not share many of his priorities. It thus provides lessons that are just as relevant today as they were more than one hundred years ago.

Although Roosevelt is the book's dominating character, its pages are also filled with other absorbing personalities. Among them are silky Republican "Easy Boss" Thomas Collier Platt, who disliked Roosevelt but for the party's good was forced to back him for Governor; passionate political reformer John Jay Chapman, who accused Roosevelt of backing out on his word by refusing to run as an independent after being assured the Republican nomination; Elihu Root, whose lawyer's skill saved Roosevelt's candidacy when his opponents discovered he had failed to pay his New York taxes; and Richard Croker, the arrogant Democratic boss whose failure to back a sitting judge for refusing to appoint a Tammany Hall functionary to a court clerkship created such public revulsion that Roosevelt was able to capitalize on the incident to turn a likely defeat into victory.

A Rough Ride to Albany is must reading for anyone who is fascinated by the career of Theodore Roosevelt or by the details of a dramatic political campaign that helped set the course of Twentieth Century American history.

Author Notes

John A. Corry, a graduate of Princeton & Harvard Law School, is a semi-retired New York City tax lawyer. Since his boyhood, he has had a strong interest in American history & politics. His first book, 1898: Prelude to a Century, recounts that year's important events which set the stage for the following hundred years & has been acclaimed as 'a striking & original argument' & as a 'compelling account.'

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In the vast scholarship on the political career of Theodore Roosevelt, this book is destined to have only a minor place. Using primarily standard secondary sources and newspaper accounts, Corry provides an interesting yet familiar narrative of Roosevelt's political career to 1898. The primary contribution to the literature is the detailed account of the New York gubernatorial election in 1898. In acknowledging the importance of this narrow victory to Roosevelt's eventual ascension to the White House, the author convincingly shows that it was only Roosevelt's energetic whistle-stop tour of the state and his extraordinary ability to stir audiences that saved him from defeat and possibly irreparable damage to his political career. Readers will get an insightful look at Boss rule and machine politics from the author's discussion of Republican "Easy Boss" Thomas Platt and Democratic Boss Richard Croker, gain a sense of the political frustration often encountered by reform-minded independents like John Jay Chapman, and obtain a realistic sense of the art of political compromise as Roosevelt struggled to balance his own moral commitment to reform with the often amoral positions of his party's state leadership. Recommended for general readers. S. L. Piott Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. 9
Prologue: November 7, 1989--The "Hurricane Windup Of A Canvass"p. 11
1 "I Rose Like A Rocket"p. 16
2 "I Have Been Called A Reformer, But I Am A Republican"p. 29
3 "In All Probability This Campaign Means My Final And Definite Retirement"p. 45
4 Shaking Up The Policep. 56
5 The Road To Cuba And Beyondp. 72
6 Waiting For Rooseveltp. 91
7 The Easy Boss Chooses His Candidatep. 105
8 "I Cannot Accept The So-called Independent Nomination"p. 130
9 Decision At Saratogap. 142
10 Croker's Syracuse Surprisep. 166
11 "The Canvass Is Not Looking Well"p. 172
12 "You May Take These But You Shall Go No Further!"p. 189
13 "The Speech Was Nothing, But The Man's Presence Was Everything"p. 200
14 "I Do Wish You Would Get That Medal Of Honor For Mep. 216
15 "He Kept Ev'ry Promise He Made To Us, And So He Will To You"p. 225
16 "My Real Opponent Is Not Mr. Van Wyck, But Is Mr. Croker"p. 246
17 "I Have Played It In Bull Luck"p. 270
Epilogue: "What If?"p. 284
Author's Note and Acknowledgementsp. 287
Endnotesp. 289
Bibliographyp. 297
Indexp. 302