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Through difficult and hard work, Charles managed to climb up to quite a high social and economic standing in recent years, especially after the immigrants came flocking to New York City. New York City grew rapidly, with tenements being built quickly to house the new immigrants to the city. They came seeking economic opportunities, but what did they find? Poverty, filthiness, an absolute dump of a city. The conditions were absolutely disgusting, anyone would believe they were living in the Medieval Ages. The government could not provide basic services to these immigrants, making their lives a living hell. Charles, however, saw this as an opportunity. If he were to provide immigrants with basic services that the government cannot provide in exchange for their loyalty, wouldn’t he be able to rise to power? If he uses this fact correctly, he could construct a money generator in which he doesn’t have to do anything! With this plan, Charles would provide jobs and basic needs to immigrants. In exchange, these immigrants would vote for whoever Charles wanted. Charles became a rich man in an era where the top 1% held all the wealth.
With his newfound wealth, Charles would improve infrastructure in New York City. He’d provide jobs, food, and even homes to immigrants. All he’d ask for in return would be their votes. Charles would land someone he wanted in office through this method. If he wanted his accomplice to be in office, he’d get him in office. Although the voting was rigged, it shouldn’t be that bad, right? After all, it's not like he isn’t helping others. He’s providing to the people both improvements to the infrastructure and necessities to live in this filthy place. He’s even improving the waste disposal system, trying to make the city cleaner than it currently is. Everything he is providing is things that the government couldn’t even do!
“Don’t you get it, Charles? You’re running a political machine! It doesn’t matter if your motives are benign, this isn’t legal!”
“Oh, please. The government hasn’t helped these immigrants at all, and the conditions this city was in previously were atrocious. I’m doing the government a favor by doing this.”
Wilson couldn’t get through Charles’ stubbornness. Despite Charles having noble motives behind his actions, they cannot really be justified with the law. It is still corruption, even if it doesn’t hurt anyone.
“Well, corruption is still corruption, Charles. We need to stop while we can before the government begins going after us,” Wilson pleaded. Wilson has assisted Charles with running this whole thing since Charles suggested the idea. Wilson had agreed since the concept of political machines was still not as prevalent as they were now. As time went by, however, Wilson noticed how similar their operation was to a political machine. Wilson was somewhat worried after the discovery, but he couldn’t just run away when he was trying to help the people. It wasn’t until he found out how the leaders of a political machine ended up after being arrested by the government.
“We’ll be sent to prison for years if we’re caught, Charles! We cannot take such a risk after what happened a few days ago!”
“We cannot abandon these guys, Wilson. It is our duty to provide for them when the government won’t do so.”
“Okay, you know what? How about this; how about we find someone to substitute your position while we run away?”
“You mean to have someone else run this whole operation in place of us so that they take the fall if they were caught instead of us?”
“Yes, exactly. Of course, since we don’t want them to get caught, this person will have to be amazing at hiding his actions.”
Charles began pondering. If they find someone incompetent for the job, they will all be caught and arrested, but if they find someone suitable, someone with innate talent for the position, they should all be able to get away with it.
“Alright, Wilson, you win. From everyone working for us now, who do you think is the most suitable?”
“I’m glad you asked. If you’re looking for the most suitable, it should be William.”
“William? You mean the guy who wanted to be a bookkeeper before he decided otherwise?”
“Yeah, that William. William Tweed.”
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“Okay, are you sure you are capable enough to do this, Tweed?”
Charles and Wilson have packed their bags, getting ready to depart from New York. Not willing to risk jail time, they put William in charge of New York City. In order to throw off anyone who might be trailing their actions, they shut down all operations and factories. William will have to start from scratch.
“Well then, Slán.” Charles waves goodbye as he and Wilson board a steamboat heading to Ireland, Charles’ homeland.
“We’ve left you a fortune to handle this whole business. Our original operations were auspicious, we hope yours will be even more. Arrivederci.”
Charles and Wilson are now far from shore, New York being the size of an ant on the horizon. They cannot help but worry about how Tweed will manage. They know he’s the most suitable for the position just from looking at his accomplishments and his abilities, but they don’t know him that well. Charles and Wilson just hope they chose correctly. In the meantime, Tweed was ready to make big changes. His experience with volunteering in businesses that aim to help the public has contributed to his set of skills. Now he just needs to apply them.
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“Hey, should we go check in on whether Tweed has succeeded in improving New York?”
Wilson turned to look at Charles. It’s been a few years since they left New York City in Tweed’s hands, and they haven’t checked in with Tweed in a while. They can’t shake off this feeling that they’ve chosen the wrong person, but they’ve placed all their trust in Tweed.
“Well, do you want to go check on him now?”
“It seems that we should. We did say we’d return to check on his progress soon, but it’s been years. That soon hasn’t occurred in a while, he may think we’re dead.”
Wilson turned to look back at the ocean. Ever since they’ve come to Ireland, all they’ve done was fish. They bought a boat and went out to sea, not too far from the coast. They’d fish and sell the excess fish that they couldn’t keep for themselves. Charles and Wilson have basically made a living like this for the past few years, quite a peaceful occupation except whenever there is a thunderstorm.
“You must understand that we can’t be dawdling any longer, Wilson. What if Tweed hasn’t accomplished what he was told to do?”
“Alright, fine. After checking on him, we’re coming back. I’m not risking getting caught by the government, Charles.”
“We’ll set off to America in 2 weeks then, how about that?”
Although Wilson would’ve loved to refuse, he had no choice but to go. If Tweed were to be caught and interrogated, Tweed might expose them both. There is also the possibility that Tweed may have not done his tasks, which would then create a whole new problem.
“Okay. I guess we’re in agreement.”
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Charles and Wilson arrive at New York City’s port. To their surprise, the city seems to be in good shape. The infrastructure has definitely been improved; however, it is quite an underwhelming improvement. They expected to be greeted by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon but were instead greeted by a cleaner city. With all the funding Tweed should’ve received, it should have been possible to make New York City a wonder of the world, but why is it not?
“Charles, I think Tweed may have gotten distracted.”
“Yeah, I can see that.”
Charles was furious. While Tweed has done some work, the changes that Tweed brought were disappointing. Had Charles known this would happen, he would’ve never given Tweed the chance.
“Wilson, how should we deal with Tweed?”
“Let’s just, I don’t know, tip off the government over this matter?”
“Wouldn’t that be plain stupid? We did manage a political machine; we’d basically be turning ourselves in.”
“A reduced sentence is better than a full sentence.”
“I guess you’re right. Let’s go, Wilson.”
Charles and Wilson would contact the government and tip them off on Tweed’s political machine, leading to Boss Tweed’s arrest. Tweed received a 12-year sentence before it was reduced to one year due to Tweed having connections. Tweed fled to Spain and lived as a common seaman until the U.S. government found his whereabouts. He was captured and sent to prison, where he died of pneumonia 2 years after being returned to prison.
It turned out that although Tweed was helping immigrants by providing jobs and improving the infrastructure, Tweed was power-hungry. Tweed sought power and hoarded wealth. Most of the wealth that was supposed to go to the people ended up in the hands of Tweed’s Ring. As for Charles and Wilson, both were arrested for having connections to Tammany Hall, Tweed’s political machine. Their sentence was half of Tweed’s, but they didn’t have the luxury of a judge who would reduce their sentence. Charles and Wilson both served 6 years in prison before being released. Once released, they went back to Ireland where they separated. Wilson, who was born in America, went to Italy. It was there that he found the love of his life and where he started a family business. Charles remained in Ireland, where he lived a peaceful life, fishing as a pass time. Although they would’ve gladly remained in America to help the new immigrants, they would get in more trouble with the government. They learned a valuable lesson then; a political machine is illegal whether it is beneficial or not.