Corruption can be a politicians worst nightmare or his best friend. Sometimes, you do it against your will. But in the end, you are consumed by it, just like any other power hungry crazed individual, believing that they can make a difference. Willie Stark believed in it too. Willie was just like any ordinary farmers son. He grew up in the South and is employed as Mason Citys county treasurer. He wanted to make a difference by giving light into a controversy. He set out a campaign against an alleged county schoolhouse construction contract.
He was working for Dolph Pillsbury, the County sheriff, who happened to favor the bid of a certain J. H. Moore over all the others. The fact that J. H. Moore did not have the lowest bid only brought more suspicion as to why he was chosen. Willie fought this, as he was on the side of Jeffers Construction, the one having placed the lowest bid. Eventually, the County sheriff got what he wanted and J. H. Moore won the contract, Willie lost his job. But he stood by his conviction and he was rewarded.
Years later, the schoolhouse met a tragic fate due to the low quality construction materials that was used by J. H. Moore. The building collapsed, killing three and injuring several others. I believe this moment was one of the turning points of the story. It shows that when you stood by what you tried to fight for until the very end, the people would know of this and you will gain their sympathy. Hence, he ran for governor as planned by existing political figures. Although he did not win, this became his driving force to study law, and later to run again for the same position.
Willie Starks character in Robert Penn Warrens All the Kings Men is that of a governor surrounded by all the people mixed in a perfect concoction to produce the dictionary meaning of political differences powered by blackmail, alliances and corruption. I believe that a persons morality is gravely affected by circumstances of everyday living. One day you believe in the political system, the next day you probably would not. Maybe you encountered a bully police officer, a person trying to blackmail you, or a pickpocket. A person can be as hard as a rock when he or she stands by his/her moral and ethical principles.
But even the strongest rocks are destroyed especially by secrets that are meant to damage your public image and meant to shake the very foundation of your moral beliefs. I believe that Willie Stark was corrupted by the political system. And I would like to point out three reasons why. As I have mentioned, Willie wanted to correct what he thought was wrong with the schoolhouse bid event when he stood up for the Jeffers Construction. Unknown to him, the County sheriff will still be the one to call the shots since he has authority over every single thing that happens.
I believe this showed how much Willie was not in favor of set-ups in the political hierarchy, and an honest man would accept losing his job rather than sticking up to the misdoings of his superior. Another circumstance pointing to the righteousness of Willie was when he gave his support to his opponent Sam MacMurfee during his first time to run for governor. He found out the plan when Sadie Burke revealed it to him and to the dismay of all those who worked for his campaign, he announced his support to his rival on his big speech.
Lastly, his efforts to build a free-for-all hospital sum up his desire to help the needy. What I see is a person who believes in the morality of things but is just caught up in the immorality and corruption that is inevitable in politics. Right from the start he was good, and he never stopped being good even if he has to do bad to be good.
AllAboutScience. org. (2002). Darwins Theory of Evolution A Theory in Crisis. Retrieved December 22, 2007, from http://darwins-theory-of-evolution. com Stein, J. (Ed. ). (1975). The Random House College Dictionary. New York: Random House, Inc.