Essay: THE NEW MELTING POT

When I stood in the landing shed of this "promised land" . . .

I made a vow:

I'd fight my way to power if it killed me Not only for myself but for our kind.

THAT is how the politician hero of Hogan's Goat, a recent play about the 19th century Irish in Brooklyn, recalls the era when ward politics was one of the few ways in which the immigrant masses could dream of sharing power. The ethnic vote—the vote of "our kind"—has remained part of the American political vocabulary for a century. Big-city...

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