The Break: The Fight for Charter Reform and the 1961 Mayoral Election

  • Richard M. Flanagan
Chapter

Abstract

The tension between party leader Carmine De Sapio and Mayor Robert Wagner came to a head when the mayor called for De Sapio’s resignation as party chief of Manhattan and head of Tammany Hall. De Sapio organized a campaign to depose the mayor by denying him support of Tammany and many of the other regular political clubs and county organizations in the 1961 Democratic primary for mayor. In a bitterly contested election fight, Wagner beat the candidate backed by the party bosses, state comptroller Arthur Levitt. Simultaneously, Mayor Wagner engineered changes to the city charter that increased the power of the mayoralty relative to other politicians in New York.

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Notes

  1. 4.
    Leo Egan, “Both Parties Eye State Race in ‘58,” New York Times, November 8, 1956, 1. New York is one of the few states in the country (eight in all) that allow parties to cross-endorse candidates. Wagner’s debt to the Liberal Party was significant. He claimed to have awarded the Liberal Party up to “five hundred important positions” in city government. Edward V. Schneier, John Brian Murtaugh and Antoinette Pole, New York Politics: A Tale of Two States (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2010), 61–63.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    William J. Daniels and James Underwood, Governor Rockefeller in New York: The Apex of Pragmatic Liberalism in the United States (New York: Greenwood Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  3. 30.
    Oliver E. Allen, The Tiger: The Rise and Fall of Tammany Hall (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1993), 270.Google Scholar
  4. 62.
    David R. Eichenthal, “Changing Styles and Strategies of the Mayor,” in Urban Politics: New York Style, Jewel Bullush and Dick Netzer, eds. (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1989), 75Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Richard M. Flanagan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Flanagan
    • 1
  1. 1.City College of New YorkCollege of Staten IslandUSA

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