Platt, Thomas Collier

Platt, Thomas Collier,

1833–1910, American legislator and political boss, b. Owego, N.Y. He was president of the Tioga County National Bank and had acquired considerable commercial interests by the time he served in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican (1873–77). In 1881 he became a U.S. Senator, but, following his mentor, Roscoe ConklingConkling, Roscoe,
1829–88, American politician, b. Albany, N.Y. On his admission to the bar in 1850, he was immediately appointed district attorney of Albany. The son of Alfred Conkling, Congressman and federal judge, he became a U.S.
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, in a quarrel with President Garfield over patronage, resigned almost immediately, thereby winning the nickname "Me Too" Platt. With Conkling he sought vindication in a new election but withdrew his name in the deadlock that followed in the state legislature. Platt remained prominent in New York politics, gaining new power and consolidating his control of patronage. Again from 1897 to 1909 he was a U.S. Senator. One of the most powerful of Republican politicians, he was largely responsible for the election (1898) of Theodore RooseveltRoosevelt, Theodore,
1858–1919, 26th President of the United States (1901–9), b. New York City. Early Life and Political Posts

Of a prosperous and distinguished family, Theodore Roosevelt was educated by private tutors and traveled widely.
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 as governor of New York. Although Roosevelt often consulted with Platt, Roosevelt was largely independent in political matters, and in 1900 Platt succeeded in shelving him (as he thought) into the vice presidency. Afterward Platt's power declined.


See his autobiography (1910, repr. 1974); H. F. Gosnell, Boss Platt and His New York Machine (1924, repr. 1971).

Platt, Thomas Collier

(1833–1910) political boss, U.S. representative/senator; born in Owego, N.Y. He started in business as a druggist and eventually rose to become president of the United States Express Company (1880–1910). His political career began in 1870 through his alliance with Roscoe Conkling. Although Platt served in both the U.S. House of Representatives (Rep., N.Y.; 1873–77) and in the U.S. Senate (Rep., N.Y.; 1881, 1897–1909), he was most effective in state politics. He ran the powerful New York Republican machine through patronage and power plays (1881–1902). His political downfall came as the star of Theodore Roosevelt ascended in New York; Platt worked to have Roosevelt sidetracked as vice-president in 1900, but Roosevelt soon became president and Platt lost much of his power.