Isn't it odd that the corruption instigated and nurtured by Republicans throughout America after the 'civil' war has flourished down to the present day? The reason being that corruption comes from the top down, the head of a fish to use a metaphor; just as today - - Washington, DC.
Somehow through all its miseries the city has managed to preserve something of its Gallic gayety. Young blades still speed their racers over the famous Shell Road, 'straight as an arrow, hard as flint, and smooth as a backgammon board,' pausing for a cocktail or a sherry cobbler in the shade of fragrant trees at the road-houses. The nights are lively with balls and masquerades, and the gambling-houses are never deserted except on Sunday, when a pensive serenity descends upon the town.
His enemies have said he was penniless when he reached the city; he himself insists he had enough, and had entered at once on a lucrative practice of his profession. In the beginning it was all a lark ~ caucuses, conferences, were to his liking, and, besides, was not this the land of the plum tree? The negroes, attracted to the merry young blade, elected him to Congress before the State's Representatives were admitted, and he sallied forth to Washington to be cordially received by the Republican leaders and turned away. But it was ordained of destiny that he should have bigger fish to fry.
When the Grand Army of the Republic was organized in Louisiana, he was made Grand Commander, and a few weeks later, at the age of twenty-six, he was elected Governor. His enemies soon were to comment significantly on his capacity to save one hundred thousand dollars a year on a salary of eight thousand dollars and to accumulate a million in four years. But an English tourist, who found him 'a young man of spirit and ability,' observed that 'his wealth, if the wages of corruption, had been so deftly acquired that no one can lay his finger on the spot.'
Bad in the beginning, the travesty grows worse. The vulgarity' of the speeches increases; members stagger from the basement bar to their seats. The Speaker in righteous mood sternly forbids the introduction of liquor on the floor.
A curious old planter stands in the galleries a moment looking down upon the scene, and with an exclamation, 'My God!' he turns and runs, as from a pestilence, into the street.
Visitors from the North organize' slumming expeditions' to the Legislature or go as to a zoo. A British member of Parliament, asking if there are any curiosities in the city, is taken forthwith to Mechanics' Hall.
Through his subsidized press he brought pressure to bear in favor of four measures intended to give him dictatorial power and prolong his reign. The Registration Bill made every parish registration official his minion, and gave them power to accept or reject votes without interference from the courts. Thus he could determine nominations.
The Election Bill superseded sheriffs on election day with Warmoth's appointees, forbade the courts to interfere, and authorized him to deny certificates of election to successful candidates as he saw fit; and all this was climaxed by the creation of a returning board composed of members of the machine specified in the bill itself. The Constabulary Bill authorized Warmoth to name a chief constable in each parish who could name a deputy, and these were absolute. And the Militia Bill empowered him to organize and equip as many men as he wished and placed one hundred thousand dollars at his disposal for the purpose.
Never, however, had Warmoth seemed stronger than when the Legislature met in, January, 1871, with his Speaker packing the House committees with Warmoth men, and with his followers in the Senate depriving the Lieutenant-Governor of power and packing the committees there with minions ,of the Governor. But he had undergone a strange metamorphosis. He vetoed a gigantic swindling levee scheme in which members were financially interested. The House raged and overrode the veto in a tempestuous session, but in the Senate the steal was stopped, and the defeated corruptionists turned on Speaker Mortimer Carr for vengeance.
Bargaining with Democrats to seat their contested members in return for votes to unseat Carr, the latter was forced out, and an enemy of Warmoth, not one whit better, became the commanding figure of the House. ‘Thus,’ said the New York Tribune,’ ‘by taking advantage of an outburst of virtuous indignation among a gang of thieves. . . was laid the foundation of . . . the first systematic organization in opposition to the power of Governor Warmoth.’