The entire King’s Men

All the King’s Men, written by Robert Penn Warren, is set deep in the
south during the 1930’s. This is a story of the rise and fall of a
political titan. Willie Stark comes from poverty to become the governor of
his state. He forces his enemies into submission by blackmails, repeated
threats, and bullies them. He creates a series of liberal reforms that lay
heavy tax burdens on the rich and lifts the money issue off of the poor
farmers. His foil character Sam MacMurfee persistently searches for way to
ruin the career of Willie Starks. Sam MacMurfee has thugs and powerful
political allies deep in his pockets. The two characters remind the reader
of corrupt figures in politics such as the famous Boss Tweed.

Willie Stark’s right-hand man is Jack Burden. He left his eloquent
and polite family to work with Willie. Jack is an extremely intelligent
historical researcher that uses his abilities to dig up dirt on Willie’s
enemies. Willie uses the secrets to blackmail his enemies into his
submission. Often corrupt political figures indirectly pay off other
individuals to do the “dirty work” and blackmail their enemies. Although
Willie Starks may have been acting corruptly for a good purpose it was
still illegal and wrong.

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Willie asks Jack to search for secrets on a father figure from his
child hood. Judge Irwin was a father figure in Jack’s life as a child. In
this situation, Jack’s motivation and responsibility to himself is
questioned. Jack discovers that Judge Irwin accepted a bribe and Governor
Stanton covers the bribe up. The blackmail influences the suicide of Judge
Irwin, makes Adam Stanton accept the position as head of the hospital that
Willie is building, and Anne Stanton begins an affair with Willlie. Adam
murders Willie when he finds out about Willie and Anne. This horrific
event lead to Jack’s retiring from politics forever.

The death of Willie Starks and the circumstances force Jack to
rethink the way he thinks. He rethinks a belief that no one can ever be
responsible for the evil actions of another individual over time. In a way
Jack feels responsible for Willie’s death. Jack eventually marries Anne
Stanton and he feels orthodox about his decision to marry her. Jack
restarts his long lost hobby of working on a book about Cass Mastern. Jack
uses Cass Mastern’s papers as a source for his failed essay in American
history.

Are there any people that tend to bully and blackmail others are
maybe even you? Bribery, blackmail, and corruption in general are not seen
so much in today’s world, but are still occurring on a daily bases. In a
time when America’s economy was low I suspect that the temptation was high
to act corruptly. Willie Starks seeks out rebate for smaller people as he
heavily taxed the rich and blackmailed his enemies. Honest politicians are
a rarity in today’s world.